Mythbuster: Alison McClimond
Why I think it is important for Kansas government officials to operate in the light of day, rather than in secret, behind closed doors:
Alison McClimond, 13, knows the reality of drug use first-hand and uses educational facts and statistics to spread the word.
When Alison's sister died in May 2013 from complications of long-term drug use, Alison decided that she would use her experience and knowledge of what she witnessed during the seven and half years of her sister's addiction in order to teach her peers the facts about drugs.
Alison believes in busting the biggest myth of them all – that “everybody’s doing it" – which flies in the face of the fact that most teens are alcohol- and drug-free. She uses educational facts and statistics in her projects regarding the effects of drugs so that she can empower her peers to make healthy choices for themselves.
Alison attended on of Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition's (PBCSAC) Youth Leadership Summits. She was then selected to be on the Youth Coalition's Leadership Board, an elite group of 12 students from Palm Beach County middle and high school students, who are committed to improving our community by educating their peers and parents on the facts about drugs. Each student was challenged to lead drug prevention activities during Red Ribbon Week. While the students were given support during the inception phase from PBCSAC staff, it was up to the student to implement their designs.
“A Healthy Me is Drug-Free”
Alison worked with her guidance counselor, Bonnie Brent, and her school’s principal Kathryn Koerner to put together her school's Red Ribbon Week in October 2013. Independence Middle School had not recognized Red Ribbon Week since Alison started at the school. She went to the guidance counselor and the principal with her story, who allowed Alison the opportunity to come up with a plan for the week that would broadcast the “A Healthy Me is Drug-Free” message throughout the IMS campus. The students wrote prompts on drug prevention, had contests to create awareness, and hung banners throughout the school.
Alison’s Red Ribbon campaign reached 1,323 teens at her middle school.
In addition to her school activities, Alison helps with all stages of the Palm Beach County Alcohol Prevention School Bus Poster Contest. This contest requires students to design a poster with a positive message of why students should choose an alcohol free lifestyle, and each poster requires a fact and citation to be included on the subject. The project garnered 1,074 entries from 38 schools and community centers. Each day, the 66,000 students who ride school buses are able to view the positive images.
Alison donated over 25 hours of her time to the project, including spending her last “free” day of winter break helping to set-up displays so the public could view the submitted posters throughout the South Florida Fair.
This year, Alison will be volunteering at the South Florida Fair with PBCSAC, handing out literature, encouraging them to graffiti why it's good to choose a drug-free life, and educate people about underage drinking, marijuana and prescription drug abuse. She has also volunteered at community events, such as the 5K Run for Recovery, talking with community members and passing out literature on drug prevention.
Using courage and organization, Alison shows she is always ready to do what she can to help educate people on the dangers of drugs, no matter what their age.
Update: Alison’s story was shared on WPEC Channel 12 news, which also spotlighted this contest. Check it out: http://www.cbs12.com/community/features/extraordinary-people/stories/vid_91.shtml