East New York

East NY students take the stage with anti-drug message

February 1, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Student Nia Salley finds a way to get her message across. Photos courtesy of Brightpoint Health
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“The play’s the thing,” as William Shakespeare wrote in “Hamlet,” and students in an East New York school used the stage to get across their anti-drug message to the community.

Students at the Alpha School in East New York wrote, directed and starred in a stage show aimed at dispelling the myths about drugs and alcohol.

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It was all part of National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week (Jan. 25-31), a weeklong event organized by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The goal is to bring together teenagers and scientists to work on various projects to counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens are exposed to by the Internet, television, movies, music and, especially, their peers.

As part of the weeklong observance, students at the school put on a play on Jan. 28. The play illustrated how the choices people make lead to different outcomes. The plot explored different scenarios, including teens taking drugs under peer influence and young people choosing not to take drugs.

The performance ended with a recitation of the Alpha School’s philosophy of strength, unity and love. More than 25 students took part in the event. The Alpha School is affiliated with Brightpoint Health, a health care program for low-income communities.

Police Chief Jeffrey Maddrey, commanding officer of Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, who attended the performance, praised the students and the anti-drug, anti-alcohol message they were conveying.

“It is so powerful to see young people tell other young people ‘Don’t do drugs. Don’t get involved in this. You can graduate and you can have a better life.’ You all did a great job and we are all proud of you,” Maddrey told the students.

The students and their teachers also held an interactive session and dialogue based on the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge. After the session, students filled out pledge cards that read “I want to SHATTER THE MYTHS because…” and added their own personalized phrases to complete the sentence.

Located at 2400 Linden Blvd., the Alpha School serves East New York and Brownsville. It is a GED program taught by New York City Department of Education teachers. Its students, ranging in age from 17 to 21, are encouraged to become productive members of the community and be prepared for college or vocational training.

The Alpha School became part of the Brightpoint Health program in 2014.

Brightpoint Health  is a nonprofit provider of health care and social support services to New Yorkers and focuses on residents facing poverty, discrimination and lack of access to health care.


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