Americus -- In a time when headlines are often filled with drug raids and drug related crimes, people in Sumter County are proud as they launch a fight against drugs.
The Sumter County Boys and Girls Club gymnasium was filled with music, dancing, and games Saturday. But the good time had by all event was actually a collaborative fight in the war on drugs.
"We know that drugs are out there, but we do everything we can to reach the kids before the drugs do," said Johnny Byrd of the Sumter County Boys and Girls Club.
Hundreds gathered along with dozens of exhibitors at the Americus Community Resource Fair. Aimed at building drug awareness, the first annual event was co-sponsored by the Boys & Girls Club and the Georgia Alliance for Drug Endangered Children.
It was an important event for 7th grader Tyrone Pride. He said, "Drugs aren't good for you. They will lead you down the wrong path. I don't do drugs. They might make you get addicted. Groups like the Boys & Girls Club are good for you. It helps you stay drug free."
Keeping kids like Tyrone safe from drugs is one of the main goals of law enforcement agencies. Local drugs task force agents, along with drug sniffing dog Janie, were on hand to provide vital information necessary in keeping kids safe from drugs.
"Basically, a lot of our young people and teenagers are getting exposed to different types of drugs in the environment, and different types of paraphernalia by the older generation," said Sumter County Drug Task Force Sgt. Prurince Dice.
Keeping the community safe and drug free was the message felt and heard by all. For mother of two Barbara Smith, community awareness is key in drug prevention. She said, "This event is helping the community to know about drugs, which they then take back to their home, and teach their children continuously."
But when the tables were down and the balloons fell to the ground, one very important lesson was learned by many Sumter County kids who screamed, "Say no to drugs!"
A valuable lesson indeed.
Organizers hope to make this an annual event. If you would like more information on the Sumter County Boys and Girls Clubs and other upcoming events, you can call them at 229-924-0414.