WATERTOWN — Pivot and the Alliance for Better Communities will hold the first “Community Talks” event, in conjunction with an art competition, next month at the Salmon Run Mall.
On Oct. 5, beginning at 9 a.m., Jefferson County students in K-12 each are invited to create an art piece in any preferred medium to embody the theme of the competition, “Show How You Keep NNY Healthy.”
Judging will take place between 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and those who enter will have the chance to win various prizes like iPads, Fitbits and more.
Amid the artistic expressions of students and free face painting, there also will be speakers and a panel discussion involving issues affecting the Jefferson County community, such as underage drinking, effects of marijuana on today’s youth, and the dangers of vaping, until 3 p.m.
“We want to get our youths more involved; I really think we need to start giving them the breathing room to focus on the community,” Anne Marie Crescent, community coalition coordinator for the Alliance for Better Communities, said. “That’s what makes a place special to live in — the community around you, so we really want them to speak and come to the table.”
Panel discussions will begin at 12:30 p.m., featuring Ed Shemelya of The National Marijuana Initiative, Joey Boswell from the Seaway Valley Prevention Council and Bill Bowman of Pivot.
Each of the three speakers will talk for 20 minutes, and then the floor will be opened to any questions parents may have.
“The speakers are phenomenal, they’re basically encyclopedias for their fields of expertise,” Ms. Crescent said. “Every kid I’ve ever known in second grade holds some sort of lollipop or snack like a cigarette because they think it’s cool; that’s the time to talk to them.”
Ms. Crescent has been with the Alliance, 167 Polk St. Suite 320, for about a year and a half and is one of three women who have been on the planning committee for this event from the beginning. The other two women involved are Jen Lachenauer and Kelli Liscum.
Sponsors of either the art competition, the community talks event, or both, include Watertown Savings Bank, Northern Credit Union, School Daze, Black River Adventurers Shop and Community Broadcasters, LCC.
There also will be a mini health fair the day of the event with interactive activities for kids. Those wishing to enter the art competition can find out more by calling (315) 788-4660 or visiting Pivot’s Facebook page.
Keep an eye out for new flyers with QR codes that when scanned will take competition hopefuls directly to the registration page.
“We really want all skill levels; we want to see what the students come up with,” Ms. Crescent said. “We have great prizes that the planning team worked hard to procure, and we really want to give them away.”