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      Kids learn ways to Stay Above the Influence

      Students at Tahquamenon Area Schools are learning ways to stay Above the Influence. Playing ball, exercising, or even gardening are some hobbies kids can get involved in instead of turning to drugs and alcohol on their free time.

      "Some may think that it's good when you are young, but when you are older nothing helps. It affects your job it affects your ability to be able to do things and it affects your whole life," said Ellie Derusha, student.

      Seventh through eleventh grade students spent time exploring fun activities for Above the Influence day organized by the youth team from the Luce County Communities that Care.

      "You can come down get a game of basketball going or hey you can go to Michigan Works and look at the job opportunities," said Christopher Wendt, student.

      It's a way to expose kids to the harsh facts of drugs and alcohol usage while showing them they don't need to use any to have fun.

      Communities that Care is a non profit that identifies risk factors for youth. Last year they conducted a survey to find out how big alcohol and drug usage is across the county.

      The survey found 20 percent of Luce county youth admitted to doing alcohol and serious drugs like meth and cocaine. It also assessed why kids are getting involved in risky activities.

      The results express kids are not connected with the community, are bored, and feel detached from their families.

      "So, we are looking at really closing those gaps. Getting families more bonded, creating a better atmosphere with friends. And, closing the gaps of boredom," said Kristi Palmer, event coordinator.

      The Above the Influence day is just one of other programs like Life Skills and Strengthening Families both which will be offered in the fall.