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Family Fun Day encourages good choices about drugs and alcohol

By Phyllis Zimmerman, Special to the Press & Journal
Posted 5/22/19

Hundreds flocked to Hoffer Park on Saturday for the return of Dauphin County’s Family Fun Day offering a wide array of amusements with purpose.

This was the second consecutive year that the …

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Family Fun Day encourages good choices about drugs and alcohol

Posted

Hundreds flocked to Hoffer Park on Saturday for the return of Dauphin County’s Family Fun Day offering a wide array of amusements with purpose.

This was the second consecutive year that the Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol Services Department’s prevention-focused event was held in Middletown in coordination with St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. Saturday’s event appeared to be on track with attendance at last year’s gala, which attracted more than 700 visitors, said Dionne Baylor, Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol Services’ prevention supervisor.

“This (event) is telling people that they can have fun without alcohol, drugs or gambling. Our message is about making positive personal choices,” Baylor said.

Michael Williams, St. Peter’s coordinator of community, youth and family ministry, said church organizers started planning in December for Saturday’s event but “really kicked into high gear in the last three weeks.”

“This is a good event that teaches young people about social norming. If you feel that everyone else is doing something, you’re more likely to do it. It’s not only good family fun, but hopefully also educational for the kids,” William said.

Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol Services is coordinating a social norming campaign, #WhatDoYaKnow, to correct misperceptions about drug and alcohol use, as well as encouraging youths to make positive choices. County officials say this is a new approach to curb drug and alcohol use and end the overdose epidemic, which in 2018 claimed a record 128 lives in Dauphin County.

According to a 2017 Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Pennsylvania Youth Study, 85 percent of Dauphin County’s youth don’t use marijuana, while 95 percent don’t abuse prescription opioids and 86 percent think it is wrong to regularly drink alcohol.

Statistics such as these were posted throughout Hoffer Park on Saturday and announced over the public address system in an effort to educate Family Fun Day attendees.

Youngsters could win prizes by correctly answering age-appropriate questions about drug and alcohol abuse. Attendees also received free positive-message tee shirts, as well as a free pizza lunch.

Of course, that’s not to mention the array of arts and crafts stations, basketball competitions, and long line of children awaiting a turn — or maybe a second or third time — conquering the day’s ever-popular inflatable bounce house.

Another Dauphin County Family Fun Day is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 1 at the Steelton-Highspire football field, 250 Reynders St., Steelton.

For information about upcoming events or treatment services, contact Dauphin County Drug and Alcohol Services at 717-635-2254 or drugsandalcohol@dauphinc.org.