'Ready, Set, Listen!' is one of many resources that the Bartow County School System will have at their disposal, courtesy of Bartow Against Narcotics. By the end of January, BAN -- formerly known as Bartow Against Meth -- will be supplying the U.S. DHHS materials, some of which include the board game, workbook and brochures, at no cost to the schools.
"We're going to give it to the counselors and let them use it as a resource," said Buffy Williams, director of elementary curriculum for the Bartow County School System, referring to counselors for kindergartners through 12th graders. "So instead of it replacing a science curriculum or anything like that, it would be more of a resource for our counselors to use because they do classroom visits. They go to each classroom every month and do workshops with the children.
"So I thought it would be a great place to have [the] resources. Then the teachers could be able to check [them] out from there if they were doing a unit or if they wanted to incorporate something into activities they could actually go to the counselors and pull from there. ... I'd like to see how the counselors respond to it and how the students respond to it and from there will make a decision on the future use."
From posters to descriptions of "helpful" medicines and "harmful" drugs, the materials are tailored to each age group. Covering alcohol and drugs, ranging from prescription medications to illegal narcotics, the science-based program is aimed at helping students establish healthy habits, substance prevention and educating youth on the dangers of substance abuse.
"[The program] will have information in there about how different drugs affect your nerve system [and] what other damage they can cause," said BAN President Maranda White. "[It also addresses] not just the damage they can cause to your body from just nerves, but they can also cause cancer like [with] marijuana ... and anger from meth. ... [Through this program] I [would like] to see more kids graduating school instead of dropping out and more kids staying off drugs. With all that, [there] will be less kids that end up in prison or in jail or even dying."
For Williams, having another resource to connect with students is an important asset for the school system.
"I think that you have to have a variety of resources to give children the opportunity. It may be that one thing we think might get across to a child really doesn't have an impact on them but something else that we offer might make that impact," Williams said. "So [it is important to be] continually looking for items and ideas of getting the information across about the dangers of narcotics and drugs and alcohol and the abuse that children can find themselves in without realizing that they're all of a sudden too far into something before they can get out of it."
While the offerings are free, BAN is seeking financial donations and is planning a future fundraiser to help cover shipping costs. For more information about BAN, contact Bob Poston at 678-986-1702.