Anti-drug effort expanding for teens in Penn Valley and beyond
Despite the deluge Sunday, hundreds of people came out to support a local program to make teens aware of the dangers of drug abuse.
People came out “regardless of the weather,” said organizer Brenda Clinite of Get Our Teens to Get Off Drugs, a program of the nonprofit Penn Valley group Six Degrees of Hope.
Players Pizza in Lake Wildwood offered pasta for the fundraiser dinner that honored the late Kristina Knight, who died of a drug overdose one year ago.
“It’s comfort food – and it’s a good cause,” Clinite added.
The scene was chaotic but cheerful Sunday night as servers wearing Team Tina T-shirts hustled plates of pasta and salad to a near-overflow crowd.
“We’ve got to support the kids,” said Jane Hall, echoing the sentiments of many of the others who braved the heavy rain to participate.
Near sunset, 99 red balloons were released as Tina Knight’s favorite song was played.
“We did a minute of silence during the balloon release and it actually quit raining,” Clinite said. “It was very special. The Knights have felt like this year has been a huge storm, so we actually were given a small moment of quiet during the storm.”
Clinite, a close friend of the Knights, started Get Our Teens to Get Off Drugs in response to Tina Knight’s death.
The organization’s mission is to stop risky behavior, be it drugs, alcohol or any other harmful activity, Clinite said.
Six Degrees of Hope is working to give young people access to activities they might not otherwise become involved in, such as water skiing and golf. The group also is raising money to financially support children going through the court system.
The Team Tina initiative is intended to bring teenagers together to focus on positive social behavior and building skills.
“We really need to expand outside of Penn Valley,” Clinite added. “It’s important to get (the message) out to greater Nevada County.”
A 17-year old teen who went through the juvenile court system with Tina Knight spoke at the fundraiser, providing “heart-felt testimony” on the Juvenile Drug Court program, and how his suffering due to her loss has given him the perseverance to get through the program successfully, Clinite said.
“We need to support our kids through this process and provide grants for anything that they need, but can’t afford,” Clinite added. “It really can be a confusing and difficult time of getting through teenage years.”
Local band Bearfoot played outside in a tent to an appreciative audience, and many local vendors provided support by way of cash donations, raffle prizes and discounts, including Coldwell Banker Grass Roots Realty, the Wildwood Independent, the Mane Event, Wildwood Dental, Players Pizza, Spoiled Spa, Tortilla Grill, Wild Side Clothing, Crazy 4 Yogurt, JH Mint, Baskin Robbins, Four Seasons Landscape Materials, Northridge Restaurant, Pilots Peak Winery, Elan Spa, Lake Wildwood Pro Shop and Simply You Salon & Spa.
Several hundred tickets had been pre-sold by Sunday, at $10 each, Clinite said. A cash donation enabled the organization to set aside $100 so that 10 teenagers could participate in the event and eat at no charge, Clinite said. The group also had sold more than 1,000 raffle tickets, she added.
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4229.
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