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July/August Issue

red star bulletThe Veteran Departments : Featured Stories / President's Message / Government Relations / Membership Affairs Committee Report / Veterans Benefit Update / Ask The Parliamentarian / Region 5 Report / Veterans Against Drugs Task Force Report / SHAD/Project 112 Task Force Report / Government Affairs Committee Report / Chapel of Four Chaplains / AVVA Report / Homeless Veterans Task Force Report

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VETERANS AGAINST DRUGS Committee Report

BY DAVE SIMMONS, CHAIR

It is a well-known fact among educators, youth counselors, and law enforcement folks that one of the most vulnerable times for adolescents to become involved with illegal drugs and violence is the critical hours between the end of the school day and dinner time when parents arrive home from work. Young people who are involved in positive after-school activities are far less likely to become a part of America's growing drug problems.

In southern West Virginia, two Veterans Against Drugs Programs were developed to work with different segments of the youth population in the Mountain State. One program teaches the Veterans Against Drugs Core Values to students in elementary and middle schools. With the hard work and commitment of members of VVA’s Blue- ray Chapter 628 in Princeton and affiliated AVVA members, this program has become an exciting and successful community service project. It has been featured on the Veterans Against Drugs page of the VVA web site.

The other Veterans Against Drugs Program is the Elite Girls Basketball Club, which was founded in 1988 to help develop girls’ basketball in southern West Virginia. Since its founding, more than three hundred girls from five different counties in southern West Virginia and southwestern Virginia have participated. Players are not charged a fee to participate; the club’s philosophy is that any girl who wants to play ball should be given the opportunity. Good sportsmanship, fair play, and individual development are stressed—along with winning. These values are re-emphasized and strengthened by the teaching of the Veterans Against Drugs Core Values of Honesty, Integrity, Meaningful Achievement, Camaraderie, Compassion, and Advocacy. The club is a member of the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) and the YBOA (Youth Basketball of America), and competes in tournaments from West Virginia to Florida. 

In 2002, a working relationship was developed between Blue-Gray Chapter and the Vietnam Veterans Assistance Fund to offer the Veterans Against Drugs Program to the Elite Girls Basketball Team and to encourage after-school programs. The team uniforms display the VAD logo. This would not be possible without the help of businessman and coach Kip McPeak. The Athlete’s Closet in Bluewell, West Virginia, is one of many local businesses that supports the VAD program.

Over the past several years, participants in the Elite Girls Basketball Club have gone on to play college basketball at King College, Radford University, Concord University, and the University of North Carolina, to name a few. The basketball program keeps young women off the streets and away from drugs. This program stresses the positive aspects of team play, which help prepare young women for the future.

Some of the former players now use the skills they learned to help other youth programs in their communities. Some have gone on to careers in coaching themselves. The majority of the current players who participate in this successful after-school program are honor students.

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