Reality Tour well received

ring the information session. Co-directors of the Reality Tour in Russell, Kelly Leblanc, and Kyle Gregg, spoke to the audience about howwell the programwent in their area, and what is needed to run the program. Armand Lapierre from the Vankleek Hill and District Lions Club said the group is pleased to get involved with the commu- nity’s greatest need. “Although we are few in number, we are pleased to announce we will match up to $4,000 in funds raised,” said Armand. “We are glad to support Caroll in her efforts.” Jodie Densmore, executive director of United Way/Centraide was at the informa- tion to offer support. “Youth are an impor- tant part of our community,” saidDensmore.

“This is a community initiative and we want to help.”The following day, Densmore repor- ted UnitedWay/Centraide will help to fund the program with a $4,000 donation. “We hope to put the Reality Tour on the calendar for November 14,” said Carkner. “Our first meeting of volunteers will be Sep- tember 16 at 7:30 p.m.” Carkner explained she would like to run the program again in February and once again in May, and hopes to expand to surrounding areas in both official languages. More information on the programcan be found at Information on how to help can be obtained by contac- ting Caroll Carkner at 613-678-1512 or van-

The information session to explain the Reality Tour saw more than 40 people in attendance, giving hope to Caroll Carkner that things will move forward.

have consumed alcohol.The provincial ave- rage is 50 percent. For all grades, our region is higher.” Berthiaume went on to explain youth in the region are consuming drugs and alco- hol at a much higher percentage than the provincial average, and the Reality Tour just may be the answer. Constable Bouchard explainedmarijuana is the number one drug arrest in the area, withmeth amphetamines coming in second. He explained why it is so difficult to keep up with the drug trade and making arrests. “We have about 60 little drug dealers in the area, but if we get rid of one, they are easily replaced,” said Bouchard. “Budget wise, there just aren’t enough officers to keep up. One drug arrest equals eight hours of paperwork.” Bouchard described what to look for in youth that may have consumed drugs and parents have to be diligent about where they keep their prescription drugs. “They will have very glossy eyes,” he said. “They will speak very rapidly and fidget.” Bouchard also said that parents have to be aware of what their children are spending their money on. How to help Carkner explained the program needs a minimumof $4,000 just to get the license to begin, and will need more funds to run the program once it is started. “We also need about 18 volunteers to keep this going.”The teamconsisted of six communitymembers, however, several volunteers signed up du-


According to Constable Jonathon Bou- chard, Hawkesbury is a hub for drug acti- vity fueled by gangs such as the Rock Ma- chine andHells Angels. He says a program like Reality Tour could prevent local youth from getting caught up in drug activity. An information session on bringing Rea- lity Tour, a drug prevention program, to the area took place in Vankleek Hill August 19, giving locals a lot to think about and a chance to help.The Anglican ChurchHall was filled to capacity last Wednesday, as service wor- kers, communitymembers and organization leaders came to hear about the proposed program. Organizer of the information session, Caroll Carkner, was quite pleased with the turn out. “I am here as a grandparent, and a citizen,” said Carkner. “I am concerned about the future of our youth. I’d like to get to thembefore theymake serious decisions and powerful mistakes.” Veronique Berthiaume from the Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) spoke to the crowd about the reality of drug use by youths in our region, sharing the results of a 2011 study on thematter. “Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for youth. It is a problem in our region,” explained Berthiaume. “Of grade 12 students surveyed in this region, 91 percent of males and 90 percent of females

Visitors had a lot to say about the Reality Tour. Several community members stepped up to volunteer their time.

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