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Home Run Against Drugs program returns to area elementary schools

It’s time once again for the Home Run Against Drugs Give-A-Book program, which will be presented to 230 second-grade students from Myers Elementary (this afternoon), Tyrone Elementary and St. Matthew’s schools (Tuesday, November 4).
This afternoon’s Bellwood assembly coincides with Red Ribbon Week.
The 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.”
Guest speaker for all the assemblies will be Tyrone Police Officer Matt Lutz and police dog, Vilo.
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 program is sponsored in part by grants received by the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, Central PA Community Foundation, Office of the Attorney General and Wal-Mart.
Local sponsors include: American Eagle Paper Mill, Bellwood-Antis PTO, DelGrosso Foods, Kiwanis Club of Tyrone, New Pig Corporation, PC Works Plus, Rotary Club of Tyrone, Shoe Fly Shoe, Slinky Action Zone, Tyrone Elementary PTO and Tyrone Hospital.
This marks the sixth year of conducting the program in the Bellwood and Tyrone schools.
Since 2003, over 7,000 second graders in the Altoona, Bellwood, Hollidaysburg, Spring Cove and Tyrone area school districts have participated in the assembly program.