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Home Run Against Drugs program returns to area elementary schools

It is time once again for the Home Run Against Drugs Give-A-Book program to be held at Myers Elementary School, Tyrone Elementary School and St. Matthew\’s School, which will be presented to 245 mostly second grade students.
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.
The assemblies are scheduled for Nov. 1 at Myers Elementary and Nov. 15 for Tyrone Elementary and St. Matthew’s.
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.”
Plans are for high school student/athletes to speak in Bellwood, and possibly Penn State University student/athletes to speak at the Tyrone and St. Matthew\’s program.
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.
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.
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.
The Give-A-Book program is funded in part by grants received by Blair County Chamber Foundation, Central PA Community Foundation, Office of Attorney General, Target and Wal-Mart.
Local sponsors include: Albemarle Corporation, American Eagle Paper Mill, American Legion Ladies Auxiliary, Bellwood-Antis PTO, Caracciolo Steel & Metal, DelGrosso Foods, Kiwanis Club of Tyrone, Link Computer, D. B. Mackey Insurance, New Pig Corporation, PC Works Plus, PPG Industries, Rotary Club of Tyrone, Shoe Fly Shoe, Slinky Action Zone and Tyrone Elementary PTO.
This marks the fourth year for the program in the Bellwood and Tyrone schools.
Since the organization\’s inception in 2003, the Home Run Against Drugs program has been conducted to 4,300 mostly second grade students in the Altoona, Bellwood, Hollidaysburg, Spring Cove and Tyrone schools. Plans are to present the program to approximately 1,400 second grade students in the 2006 – 07 school year.