Popular Drug-Free Marshals youth drug education and prevention campaign reaching thousands of Canadian youth
t a time when many children in Canada are receiving the message that drugs are a way of life and just have to be tried and used with common sense, one community initiative is taking a hard line of prevention through education.
Children involved in the Drug-Free Marshals program, sponsored by Churches of Scientology, take a strong position against drugs, not backing off when it comes to telling their peers the facts about drugs, directing them toward drug education and having them pledge to live a drug-free life.
The campaign is filling a need among our nations youth, popularizing drug prevention. Campaign events regularly take place at locations throughout the country. Chapters of this anti-drug crusade are active in Toronto, Montreal, Quebec, Kitchener, Ottawa, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.
The campaign includes a program of activities for youth that get them interested in and participating in their environment, undertaking projects that improve their communities with a positive anti-drug message that drug-free living is rewarding.
The Drug-Free Marshals can regularly be found participating in neighbourhood clean-ups, distributing anti-drug fliers and publications, and gaining the support of shop owners, police, officials, and also sports and arts celebrities around the country.
Drug Free Marshals set a good example. In Vancouver, teams of Drug-Free Marshals volunteers participate in street cleanups and have worked with local police in graffiti cleanup campaigns. Drug-Free Marshals in Quebec have distributed over 12,000 drug awareness fliers in just the last few months and have cleaned up several parks where needles are commonly found. Cleaning up alleys where drug pushers have hung out, doing car washes for local charities, and participating in park and recreation area restoration are among the successful projects counted by Drug-Free Marshals volunteers in Toronto.
The campaign in Canada was officially begun in 1995, under the umbrella of an international Drug-Free Marshals program established by the Church of Scientology International; a similar Canadian campaign preceded it under the name Young Ambassadors for a Drug-Free Canada.
Since 1995, hundreds of drug awareness events have been conducted across the country, with youth taking the Drug Free Marshals pledge to be drug-free.
After initial education on drugs, Drug-Free Marshals take a seven-point pledge of what they need to do personally to stay drug free as well as contribute to making family, friends and neighborhood drug free. The campaign also involves essay and poster contests and other activities to encourage and spread a message against drug use and abuse.
Children world wide, including thousands in Canada, have taken the Drug-Free Marshals pledge since the program began in Los Angeles in 1993 with the induction of the first 200 Drug-Free Marshals, aged 6 to 13. The Director of the FBIs Drug Demand Reduction Program deputized them. They received a heartfelt acknowledgment for their part in the war against drugs from then U.S. First Lady, Nancy Reagan, and a thumbs up from actor John Travolta at the special swearing-in ceremony which took place in Hollywood.
The program has since spread at a grass roots level throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, European countries, Australia and South Africa, reaching more than a quarter of a million children. While appearing under different names in some countries, it follows the same simple steps to empower children with responsibility for creating a drug-free environment.
Children in the program get enthusiastic over spreading the word against drugsalso asking adults to support the Drug-Free Marshals campaign help set an example for children. Thousands of religious leaders, judges, mayors, law enforcement and government officials, celebrities and concerned adults around the worldincluding mayors across Canadahave hosted visiting delegations of Drug-Free Marshals and added their names to the pledge to lead, and encourage others to lead, drug-free lives.
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