The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

March 29, 2014

Wyoming kids invited to glow-in-the-dark party

By Jessica Farrish
Register-Herald Reporter

— Kids in Wyoming County will be wearing black and white tonight and heading to the Power House Youth Center in Pineville for a totally free glow-in-the-dark party and their chance to win over $500 in prizes.

Hosted by Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and the Wyoming County Family Resource Network, the Glow Party is going to be an “illuminating” experience, complete with black lights, glow-in-the-dark games and free food and soft drinks.

The party for ages 10 to 13 years will be from 3 to 6 p.m., and high schoolers will have the Power House Youth Center from 6 to 10 p.m., Brunty said.

Admission is free for everyone.

The Power House is open every Saturday from 3 to 10 p.m. to provide a safe and supervised place for kids to hang out with friends and have fun.

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According to Kathy Stewart Brunty, director of the Family Resource Center, SADD is a “student-led, adult-guided” initiative that has helped young people in Wyoming County make informed and positive choices since its inception in 2011.

Facilitated as part of the National Youth Leadership Programs sponsored by the late Sen. Robert C. Byrd for state teens prior to his death, the Wyoming chapter of SADD was recognized nationally as “Rookie of the Year” by the national SADD organization in 2011, was named “Chapter of the Year” in West Virginia in 2012 and was nominated for the 2013-14 national SADD Chapter of the Year.

“We’re aiming for first place, but that’s not why we do what we do,” explained Brunty, who directs the program.

Brunty said teens in the county told FRC members that a positive place to meet could help curb bad choices like risky sexual behavior, substance abuse and truancy.

“From there, Jason Smyth, who owns STAT EMS, gave us his old building, and for a year and a half, we have been rebuilding it,” said Brunty.

The front part of the building houses the Powerhouse Youth Center, a place where teens will be meeting to become educated, participate in positive group activities and learn to make good choices.

“They’re definitely making positive changes,” said Brunty.

SADD is not a club, but Brunty said efforts are under way to get SADD chapters in every county school within the next few years.

In the past, SADD has hosted workshops like “Making Proud Choices,” which teaches kids that they have the power to break destructive family and cultural patterns and to achieve their life goals.

Selena Vickers, RESA 1 Adolescent Health Initiative coordinator, said, “This is a perfect example for what communities can do to provide a safe, drug- and alcohol-free place for kids. I’m so impressed with the vision of the youth and the commitment of the adults to help this vision come to life.”

— E-mail: jfarrish@register-herald.com