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Home Run Against Drugs program returns to area elementary schools

It was time once again for the Home Run Against Drugs Give-A-Book program recently held at Myers Elementary and Tyrone Area Elementary schools.
This year\’s program was presented to 235 second-grade students at the schools.
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 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.”
Speakers at the Bellwood program were Chris Bradigan and Lauren Carter, and speakers for Monday\’s program at Tyrone were Bradigan, Jomil Medina and Ashley Ripka, all student/athletes at Penn State Altoona.
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 The Blair Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Central PA Community Foundation, Office of Attorney General and Wal-Mart.
Local sponsors include: Albemarle Corporation, American Eagle Paper Mill, Bellwood-Antis Elementary PTO, DelGrosso Foods, Inc., Kiwanis Club of Tyrone, PC Works Plus, PPG Industries, Inc., Rotary Club of Tyrone, Shoe Fly Shoe, Inc., Slinky Action Zone, Tyrone Elementary PTO and Link Computer.
This marks the fifth year of conducting the program in the Bellwood and Tyrone schools. Since the inception in 2003, the program has been presented to 6,040 second-grade students in Altoona, Bellwood, Hollidaysburg, Spring Cove and Tyrone area schools.