North End Against Drugs (NEAD) and North End Waterfront Health held their annual drug awareness day for the students and teachers at Saint John and Eliot Schools. Over one hundred 6,7, and 8th grade students attended this years’ event hosted at Saint John’s School.
The purpose of the event is to make students aware of the dangers of drugs and alcohol and the consequences associated with them. The 2 hour program began with an introduction from NEAD President John Romano and NEW Health Executive Director James Luisi and consisted of a speaking program, followed by a series of skits from the Improbable Players.
Speakers at this years’ event were Dr Turnock from NEW Health, Assistant District Attorney Greg Henning, Boston Police Drug Unit, Assistant Chief Probation Officer Marynel Sanchez from South Boston District Court and Mayor Marty Walsh.
Each of the speakers talked to the students about the problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse, how it can affect their lives and health and also told them a little bit about their jobs. Each speaker also gave the students an opportunity to ask questions and the students had some questions and feedback.
Greg Henning, who was recently named to head the Gang Unit at the DA’s Office also spoke. Greg is a former player with the Hill House Baseball Program that played in the North End and also a member of the NEAA’s North End Dodgers’ program for many years.
The Improbable Players were sponsored by NEW Health and a grant from NEAD’s Corporate Sponsor Eversource.
The highlight of the program was Mayor Walsh, he spoke of his own experiences and how he stays sober one day at a time.They asked the mayor many questions.
“We are grateful to all the speakers and especially thrilled to have Mayor Walsh attend this important event for our students and their teachers”, stated NEAD President John Romano. “Special thanks to Traci Walker Griffin Principal of the Eliot School and Karen McLaughlin Principal of Saint John’s School for helping us organize this important day for the students”, said Mary Wright from NEAD and NEW Health. Mary coordinated the program again this year.
NEAD provided each student with a string back pack with the NEAD name on it along with drug, alcohol and cigarette pamphlets and some other items.
Also in attendance and participating in the event were Zack Goodale, Mary Anne Howard, Maria Bova and several other NEW Health staff members along with NEAD Board members Karen D’Amico, Ann Fitzgerald, Olivia Scimeca, Police Officer Teddy Boyle, Stephen Passacantilli, Kathy Carangelo and Maria Lanza. State Senator Joe Boncore also stopped in to support the program and the students.