Youth and parents supporting drug-free fun have organized NEO Fridays, when stores and restaurants in western Nevada County offer discounts.
The program also supports local businesses during a tough economy, and offers families and youth an inexpensive way to have drug-free fun.
Recently, NEO organized a sandwich-eating contest at Port of Subs and a Wii dance party at Keva Juice in Grass Valley, and an evening of pizza at Miner Moe's followed by board games at Cafe Mekka in Nevada City.
More NEO Friday events are planned:
• March 18: Movie night at Blockbuster Video, 736 Taylorville Road, Grass Valley, (530) 271-0628. A current movie, to be announced, will be shown for free on the store's large-screen, Blu-ray television. The event is from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., free popcorn and candy will be served, and candy will be available for purchase. Bring blankets and pillows.
• March 25: Dance party and night miniature golf at 49er Family Fun Park, starting at 7:30 p.m., 314 Railroad Ave., Grass Valley; (530) 272-4949.
More activities are being organized for April.
The program is hosted by NEO, the youth outreach arm of Coalition for a Drug-Free Nevada County. The main goal of NEO Fridays is to give youth another choice for living a healthy lifestyle. We hear a lot of youth say there's nothing to do, and if there is something going on, it costs too much money.
Businesses that support NEO Fridays will give discounts to anyone wearing a NEO T-shirt who comes into their stores on Fridays
Businesses including Good Times Board Store, Caroline's Coffee and Tour of Nevada City Bike Shop were quick to jump on board with this new idea of making their businesses more youth friendly by participating in NEO Fridays. This helps create a positive relationship between youth and adults in the community, reduces youth isolation by providing a place for youth to go, and helps prevent drug and alcohol abuse.
"Most of the time when kids come into the shop, they tell me that they aren't riding their bike because it has a flat tire, and they can't afford the $5 to purchase a tube to fix it," said Tour of Nevada City owner Duane Strawser.
Now, youth wearing their NEO shirt into Tour of Nevada City on Fridays can now pick up a free bicycle inner-tube and get 10 percent off anything that they purchase in the store.
"We offer a free movie rental to anyone wearing their NEO shirt every Friday and invite you to our monthly movie nights every third Friday of the month," added Blockbuster store manager Sonia Britt.
To participate and receive discounts, patrons must be wearing a NEO T-shirt. They are sold for $12 at the events and at Make Local Habit, 122 Mill St., downtown Grass Valley. The store is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 12 to 4 p.m. Sunday; (530) 477-5100.
Grass Valley resident Halli Ellis is the NEO youth coordinator and also works at the Lyman Gilmore After School Program. For more information about NEO, visit www.ncneo.com or call (530) 273-7956.