Local coalition hosts lunch event with seniors, home-schooled children

Some organizations fight drug misuse and addiction with advertisement campaigns, and others use legislation. One group in Elizabethton is using community and family to fight the battle.

Carter County Drug Prevention teamed up with the Elizabethton Parks and Recreation to host a family gathering Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. Families and their grandparents gathered together to enjoy a cooked meal and play games together.

Jilian Reece, director of the coalition, said the event was tailored towards children who live in normally troubled households.

“We want to create safe spaces for kids in our community,” Reece said.

She said the event was also for seniors who may be alone during the holidays to find some companionship.

The coalition partnered with home-schooled children in Elizabethton to provide a hot lunch and bingo among other games to spend their time.

“A big part of drug prevention is about finding kids a safe space to go when things get bad,” Reece said. She said by providing this space, children can find normalcy away from the drugs they may be used to seeing at home.

This is the third year CCDP has held this particular event, and not the only event, either, saying they hope to foster a community-based relationship between the older and younger generations.

“There is so much we can learn from the older generation,” Reece said. “They have a lot of wisdom and have lived for a lot longer.”

She said providing the opportunity for the older generation to share its wisdom with people is a big part of what these events are about.

“I have seen seniors in the past write letters to the kids throughout the year,” she said.

Other events CCDP hosts every year include a Community Field Day in May, in which people can play games and run races together, as well as a Valentine Party in February.

“I have my four kids here, and we home-school,” Reece said. “I get to bring my two worlds together and give my kids an opportunity to have conversations with seniors and learn from them.”

She said events like these are not the only way to fight drugs in the community, but it is merely one of many steps people need to take.

“We would love for the community to be involved in our events,” Reece said. “Fighting drugs is a huge undertaking. There really is a need here.”

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