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Home Run Against Drugs program returns to area elementary schools

Tyrone Area Elementary and Myers Elementary are holding Home Run Against Drugs Give-A-Book programs for all students in second grade.
This program is a campaign to fight tobacco, alcohol and drugs, according to team manager Sandi Smith.
Home Run Against Drugs is divided into three components, including a 45 minute assembly at the school, a free personalized book given to each child and a six-lesson follow-up curriculum to be taught in the classroom.
“We’ve targeted second graders because they’re old enough to understand what we’re talking about,” said Smith, “but young enough to be very impressionable.”
During the school assemblies, Smith talks to the kids about setting goals for themselves and discusses healthy ways they can take care of their bodies. She discusses how hurtful tobacco, alcohol and illegal drugs are for their bodies.
“It’s a real, interactive type of assembly,” added Smith, who said she gets the kids involved by having them raise their hands and shout out answers.
The Home Run Against Drugs mascot, Homer, who is in the shape of a baseball, comes out during the assembly to speak to the kids, with the motto, “Be a slugger. Hit a home run against drugs.”
At the Tyrone Elementary assembly held last week, two high school students also talked to the kids about setting goals and making good decisions. The high school students included Leonard Wilson, quarterback for the Tyrone Golden Eagles and Emily Ingle, cross country runner.
At the end of the assembly, each student is presented with a free hard cover book, titled Homer and Me. The book is personalized with the child’s name and their friends’ names, which are interwoven throughout the story. Because it is personalized with the child’s name and their friends’ names, it is like the child and their friends are actually characters in the book.
Smith said kids love to read the book because their names are printed throughout the story. The Home Run Against Drugs program not only campaigns against drugs, but with the use of the personalized book, it promotes literacy as well.
Also, the American Cancer Society gives Spiderman comic books to each child after the assembly.
Home Run Against Drugs then provides each school district with a six-lesson follow-up curriculum. These lessons provide the second grade teachers with the opportunity to elaborate on the anti-drug message in the classroom setting.
Smith said she created 215 books for the Tyrone and Bellwood-Antis second graders this year.
Home Run Against Drugs is a national, nonprofit organization. The personalized books and assembly is provided to the school districts at no cost because of major sponsors, area sponsors and a small grant.
The program is funded in part by grants received by the Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation, office of the attorney general, WalMart, Albemarle, American Eagle Paper Mill, Bellwood-Antis Elementary PTO, Charles Caracciolo’s Steel and Metal Yard, DelGrosso Foods, Ketrow Agency Group, Ketrow-Rothrauff Travel Agency, Tyrone Kiwanis Club, PPG Industries, Rotary Club of Tyrone, Shoe Fly Shoe Inc., Tyrone Elementary PTO, Tyrone Elks Club and Link Computer.
The Home Run Against Drugs program falls under the non profit Young Readers Council which promotes literacy under Give-A-Book programs. Home Run Against Drugs is one of the Give-A-Books programs.