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NEWS | April 18, 2018

DEFY the odds, stay drug free

By Airman 1st Class Helena B. Owens Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Joint Base Charleston will hold a free Drug Education For Youth mentorship workshop Aug 1-10, 2018, for dependents, ages 9-12, of active duty, reserve, guard, retired and Department of Defense employees at the Weapons Station Balfour Beatty Community Center. This workshop has spots available for 30 children and the deadline to register is April 27, 2018.

After the initial eight day camp, the DEFY program will hold a leadership workshop once a month beginning September 2018 until May 2019 to continue mentoring kids about staying drug free and avoiding peer pressure.

“DEFY is designed to promote a healthy lifestyle and increase a child’s ability to avoid peer pressure,” said Tech. Sgt. Kristi Lapeyrouse, NCO in charge of Psycho Educational Services at the Navy Consolidated Brig. “We instill goal setting, resistance and inform them about drug education.”

Applications are available at the Navy Consolidated Brig for youth to sign up as well as volunteer applications for mentors. Mentors must be 18 years old or older, complete a background check and attend mandatory training. Service members who want to volunteer must submit a special request form through their chain of command.

“Patience is key for volunteers looking to be a mentor,” said Lapeyrouse. “We need people who are responsible and can be good role models for the children.”

The program was established in 1993 with the mission of empowering youth, building positive healthy lifestyles and deterring at risk behaviors. The program gives youngsters the tools they need to resist drugs, gangs and alcohol.

“Ages 9-12 is such a vulnerable stage for a child, especially for military kids where one parent may be deployed,” said Staff Sgt. Sheena Chilton NCO in charge of Clinical Services Administration at the Navy Consolidated Brig. “So I think it’s a great program for kids to learn different skills they need.”