Watch the WPXI interview about the Reality Tour:
Reality Tour® is an innovative drug prevention program for parent and child. Community Health Challenge is producing Reality Tour in Beaver County on behalf of Beaver County Behavioral Health. Starting in Butler County by CANDLE, Inc. founder Norma Norris, Reality Tour® is designed for youth aged 10+ with a parent, because research indicates that youth are first exposed to alcohol, tobacco or other drugs between ages 10-12. Recent studies are showing that adolescents who have a parent or other adult mentor are less likely to participate in risky behaviors. Parent and child both receive accurate education about substance abuse and current trends, and begin or improve solid family communication skills.
Forming a basis for informed decisions and good family communication, the Reality Tour® is an evening filled with dramatic presentations and opportunities to learn about the consequences of substance abuse. The audience size is limited, so register early for your first choice of evenings. Click here to download and print the current registration form and upcoming dates, and register by mail at:
For more information about the Beaver County Reality Tour® click here or contact Community Health Challenge at 724-432-3474.
Student actors deliver message on drug abuse (you can also download a PDF of the article)
Sylvester Washington Jr. Two doctors work on a teen actor portraying a drug overdose victim as part of the "Reality Tour" production Monday night in Baden.
Posted: Monday, March 7, 2011 10:20 pm | Updated: 4:09 pm, Tue Mar 8, 2011.
Student actors deliver message on drug abuse
Bill Utterback Timesonline.com
BADEN - The evening began with a teenage girl from Beaver inviting friends to a gathering that promised "party favors" for everyone. It ended with a Blackhawk varsity football jacket draped across an open coffin.
"Drugs and alcohol. Don't be stupid."
"People get messed up from that stuff."
"That's movie crap."
"I guess one time couldn't hurt."
A Beaver County deputy escorted a boy from Baden, dressed in an orange jumpsuit, hands cuffed behind his back, and then doctors from Heritage Valley Beaver abandoned resuscitation efforts on a Blackhawk athlete as a young girl companion shrieked in agony.
"I don't feel a pulse," Dr. Uyly Yukio said before pronouncing the time of death at "1900 hours."
One night in Baden.
The "Reality Tour" touched down Monday evening at the former Mt. Gallitzin Academy building and dragged more than 35 people, mostly parents and teenagers, through a 90-minute journey intended to mirror the realities of adolescent drug abuse. The presentation mixed stark video documentary elements with a poignant audio drama and a talk with District Judge Tim Finn.
But the most compelling segments were the vignettes presented by students from the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School and members of the Beaver County community who deal daily with the ramifications of drug and alcohol abuse.
"It's something that hits me in a powerful way because it is happening to kids our age," Samantha Split, a Lincoln Park freshman from Beaver, said after her "party favor" peer pressure performance. "It has a lot of meaning to it."
Split was the aggressor in the opening episode, but says she drew from her experience as the target of other kids promoting drug use.
"I know how it feels," she said.
The presentation was produced by Beaver County Behavioral Health and directed by Kate Lichius. It has been presented twice during the 2010-2011 school year, and will be staged again in May.
"(The Reality Tour) focuses on the consequences of substance abuse," Lichius said.
The Lincoln Park students brought the consequences to life and death.
During the video presentation, Alex Gorski, a sophomore from Baden, was pulled from the group and handcuffed by a county detective. Later, he was led down a hall to cell-like room with other boys - some older, some younger - in orange jumpsuits.
"I hope that never happens to me," Gorski said. "The first time we did it, it was so scary. I would never want to be that person. Don't do drugs. Be smart. It's frightening to think about what could happen."
In another scene, Mersedez Hoover, a freshman from Beaver, stood and watched as the doctors work fervently, but unsuccessfully, to resuscitate her cousin. She then stood next to the coffin and accepted condolences with her cousin's parents.
"Honestly, if anything like that happened to anyone I knew, I would be terrified," she said. "It's scary because it's real."
The funeral home scene led everyone past the casket, past the varsity jacket and baseball glove, to a mirror propped on the pillow. It carried a message, "Don't let this happen to you."
"It has a very powerful message," Split said. "And the scary part is that you know it won't change everybody."
Bill Utterback can be reached online at Butterback@timesonline.com.
Copyright 2011 Timesonline.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Posted in News, Lincoln park on Monday, March 7, 2011 10:20 pm. Updated: 4:09 pm. | Tags: Baden, Reality Tour, Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School, Tim Finn, Kate Lichius, Samantha Split, Substance Abuse, Uyly Yukio, Alex Gorski, Mt. Gallitzin Academy, Bill Utterback,