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Back-to-school party planned for July 20 in Columbiana – Shelby County Reporter

Back to school party planned for July 20 at Columbiana

Posted at 17:01 on Tuesday, July 9, 2024

By DONALD MOTTERN | Editor

COLOMBIAN – Central Alabama Wellness and the Tri-City Impact team are currently preparing to host another entry in their annual Back to School Bash event later this month.

This year, the Back to School Party will be held at Columbiana’s Old Mill Square in front of the Shelby County Arts Council on Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. During that time, event organizers will also be looking to raise awareness about crucial issues that can affect the health of children.

“It’s a way to give back to the community,” said Zina Cartwell, prevention director for Central Alabama Wellness. “We’re going to be handing out 300 backpacks with school supplies and there will be a party atmosphere in the block. We’ll have music and other vendors that will be there, we’ll have Kona Ice, and it’ll be a fun activity for the whole family while promoting mental wellness and drug prevention.”

Event attendees will have the opportunity to receive one of those 300 backpacks on a first-come, first-serve basis. The materials have been prepared by the organizations and are intended for students who need school supplies for the upcoming school year. Many of those supplies, which were donated by the local organization Family Connection, will be combined with other items purchased by Central Alabama Wellness through a grant.

In addition to the distribution of supplies and the day of fun, the two host organizations will also seek to raise awareness and information about the dangers of underage drinking. In fact, one of the central themes of the event is titled “Parents Who Host Their Guests Lose the Most” and aims to educate parents about the dangers of social hosting.

“What we’re trying to do is raise awareness (about the dangers) of underage entertaining,” Cartwell said. “A lot of people don’t understand what social entertaining is, meaning providing alcohol to minors while they’re at home. We want to get rid of the social norm that people think it’s OK for parents to give alcohol to minors because it’s (still) illegal.”

Cartwell also highlighted the increased risk of underage drinking creating other dangerous situations, such as drink driving and the increased risk of alcohol poisoning in minors. She also highlighted alcohol’s tendency to act as a gateway drug that can open the door to other intoxicants and higher risk behaviours, while laying the groundwork for unhealthy coping mechanisms, especially in younger individuals.

“Underage drinking can lead to a pattern of drug use and alcohol abuse because the younger a person starts drinking or using any type of drug, the more likely they are to become an alcoholic or drug user,” Cartwell said. “We want to make sure parents know that this is not just a rite of passage and can actually lead to a lifelong addiction.”

All members of the local community are invited to attend the event and will also have the opportunity to receive additional resources and information from a variety of other local organizations that will be present during the meeting.

“Not only are we providing school supplies, but we are also providing resources for various things that people will need and information on who to contact,” Cartwell said. “It will be a great event.”

Those who may be interested in donating school supplies or other resources to the work done by Central Alabama Wellness or the Tri-City Impact Team can contact Cartwell directly at 205-728-8454.