Be There: Three Ring Commitment

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -  A recent survey shows that nearly 30 percent of Muscogee County School students say they have easy access to alcohol, but a new initiative is making sure that just because they can get to it, doesn't mean they will use it.

When you talk about the number of accidents and deaths associated with underage drinking, the statistics are shocking. So the tri-cities are teaming up to prevent kids from using alcohol.

Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington explained to the crowd, "You, as young people, don't realize the big impact you can have on others around you."

Columbus, Fort Benning and Phenix City all made a commitment to the youth in the area that underage drinking will not be tolerated.

"We all need to be on the same sheet of music, saying the same things, doing the same things, and letting our children know that "you can go over there but the rules over there apply just as they do over here," the ceremony coordinator and Director of Safe and Drug Free Schools, Dr. B. J. McBride said.

The Columbus Police Department supports the program by presenting shocking details of how alcohol can end a child's life.

Columbus Police Chief Ricky Boren told News Leader Nine, "I don't think children realize the consequences of drinking and driving. I don't think they realize how bad a car will hurt them. DUI's and drinking by children underage, that's the primary cause of young adults getting killed in our community and all over the United States."

Children from local schools came up with the idea for the interlocking rings, and they were proud to represent this new initiative.

"One thing we're going to do is have some of these people here today stand up in various schools and say "it's okay not to drink, it's cool not to drink". Hopefully we'll start that and let it spread through the community," explained Juvenile Court Judge Warner Kennon.

Dr. McBride added, "We want to say to our young folks, we care about you, we are the stewards of your future so we want you to be there for your future."

These rings will hang in the Safe and Drug Free Schools Department and a re-commitment ceremony will be held each year.

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