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Project Live UP to Host Fun Forum for Students
Written by Ernie Quatrani

PL@Y promotes positive decision-making


            Project Live UP will be hosting its second annual PL@Y: an afternoon at the Upper Perkiomen YMCA on Saturday, February 16, 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

            The event is aimed at grades five through nine and will communicate the impact of substance abuse disorder and how to make healthy lifestyle choices.

            "The purpose of the PL@Y program at the YMCA is to present an educational yet fun forum for kids to learn about substance use disorder," related Erin Sweed, who is organizing the event for Project Live UP. "They will have the opportunity to listen to speakers as well as ask questions and get to know the speakers on their level."

            Four speakers will talk with student participants including Sgt. Brandon Corby of the Pennsylvania State Police and Glenn Kranich, a police officer with Franconia and an Upper Perkiomen Valley resident. Two recovery substance use victims will also share their stories with the students.

            According to Cathy Fried, Project Live UP's Executive Director, "Keynote speakers will be active police officers who will share their experiences of working with those involved with drugs. There will be young people who will talk about their life of addiction and the struggles they have overcome to recover and maintain their sobriety."

            "The speakers will foster positive decision making and help strengthen the young people's protective factors against drug misuse," said Project Live UP President Will Pike.

           "Parents are encouraged to stay and listen to the message in order to further support to their children." 

            Sweed added, "It's so important to reach these kids at this age because peer pressure is a huge factor as well as kids learning to come into their own. So many risk factors can be present but if we can use a program like PL@Y to educate and save one kid from making the choice to use drugs then I find this to be successful."

            Fried pointed out, "Tweens and teens experience increasing freedom to explore a passage of right. They encounter many occasions where they have choices to make. We want to provide tools that can be used to make good decisions when they are confronted by addictions and substance use disorder."

            Another component of the afternoon is the opportunity for the students to engage with police and other adults in dodgeball and Rocks of Hope painting as well as use the pool facilities at the Y.  

            "It's also important that the kids feel they can come to adults or law enforcement for help or questions without being made to feel they will get into trouble or they are trouble," Sweed said.

            The inaugural event last winter drew approximately 30 student participants. Feedback after the event indicated that the students found the experience valuable.

            PL@Y is one of many Project Live UP programs that seek to help those affected by drug misuse and to plant the seeds of prevention with the youth of the Valley.

            "Promoting prevention is at the heart of Project Live's mission in the Upper Perk Valley," Pike stated. "Although we offer programs to support recovery and hope for those individuals and families affected by substance use disorders, we recognize that prevention provides a pathway to forgo the behavior that leads to the misery of addiction."

            The YMCA has been very generous in working with Project LIve UP. Y Director and Project Live UP member Michael Tannous points out that the two organizations have similar goals.

            "The type of drug education and prevention promoted in this event fits all three of the Y's focuses:  Youth Development, Healthy Living and Social Responsibility," Tannous noted.

            For more information and/or to RSVP by February 14, contact Erin Sweed at Information is also available on the Project Live UP website:

             It's a great program, Sweed said. "I hope that many will attend and have fun, too." 





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