Our mission is to promote healthy lifestyle choices among our nation’s youth by empowering them with knowledge and self-esteem to prevent tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse
The campaign’s goal is to promote drug prevention and awareness while fostering relationships between children, their parents, and other role models such as educators and professional athletes.
The mascot “Homer” allows for the program to establish an easily recognizable identity that will remind children on sight of the message: “Be A Slugger…Hit A Home Run Against Drugs!”
Start Teaching Resistance In Kids Early!
Join the S.T.R.I.K.E. Force!
Drug abuse has become a major problem in the United States. Children have become ever increasingly involved in the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. Unfortunately, the drug dealers in the world have become relentless in their pursuit of new ways to market and sell their deadly products. In addition, children are exposed to television shows where alcohol and tobacco use among young people is considered “trendy”. We, as parents and educators, must also find innovative new approaches to deliver important lessons and life skills to our youth.
Overview of the drug problem
The onset of alcohol and drug abuse is occurring at ever-earlier ages. Research shows that children are being exposed to alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use as early as 8 or 9 years old. The ability to educate and prevent, or at least delay the use of “gateway drugs” such as marijuana and alcohol, offers the best chance of helping a child stay drug free and healthy. Studies have shown that the later the onset, the less damage sustained by the user.
Effects of alcohol, tobacco, and substance abuse
What are the effects of alcohol and drug use among young people? While there are many obvious negative consequences, the use of these substances affects the child’s ability to perform at optimum levels in virtually all areas of life. Socially, a child may withdraw from friends and family. They may begin to take negative risks with their health. Loss of interest in schoolwork and hobbies are certainly signs of possible misuse. The effects are far reaching and touch not only the individual child, but family and friends as well.
Less obvious, but very serious, are the physical consequences. Young, developing bodies and brains are highly susceptible to the effects of damage caused by drugs and alcohol, and tobacco use. Liver damage, brain damage, AIDS, and even death can occur as a result of youth using drugs everyday.
Unfortunately, children may begin to use these substances to allow them to deal with problems or social discomfort, or quite possibly just to fit in. At a time in life when they should be developing coping skills and learning to deal with problems, they learn to turn towards these substances as an escape from the situation.
Factors that protect against drug use
There are several factors that can help to protect young people against drug abuse:
How can “Homer” and the S.T.R.I.K.E. Force Help?
Through the use of “Homer” and the S.T.R.I.K.E Force, we can work to develop a sense of belonging to parents, children and educators to bond together to prevent drug use. Children will become familiar with “Homer” as a celebrity and will learn from him through video and curriculum based programs like this one. “Homer” will be a role model for younger children to identify with the positive aspects of a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.
The S.T.R.I.K.E. Force will actually be an ongoing membership of children, parents, community leaders and professional athletes, working together to form a team. This team will coordinate and participate in events and activities to spread the word to...“Be A Slugger…Hit A Home Run Against Drugs!” Being visible in local, regional, and national events will allow us to build a strong base of support and foster new, creative ways to work with other organizations.
The Home Run Against Drugs program is designed to be presented in several formats. All appearances, assemblies, and school-based programs are designed to follow the same basic guidelines by allowing Homer and the uniformed S.T.R.I.K.E. Force members to be a visible part of the program selected.
Home Run Against Drugs at the Ballpark
The Home Run Against Drugs program can be an important part of a youth baseball clinic. Children and parents typically work together in these clinics and the opportunity to instill the importance of staying healthy and drug free can certainly be emphasized in this environment. These clinics can be coordinated with the involvement of local colleges or high schools, and are a great way to involve members of the youth organization in the commitment to follow the drug free lifestyle for themselves and their children.
Home Run Against Drugs School Program (Elementary)
Home Run Against Drugs has successfully been implemented in elementary schools where an assembly of children receives a 30-minute introduction to the Home Run Against Drugs Message. There is active role-playing pertaining to goal setting and the format is largely interactive for the children. The introduction of “Homer” is certainly the highlight of the event, allowing children to see and meet Homer, and to learn what he represents. A follow up curriculum has been developed to allow further reinforcement of the principles learned while in the assembly. Each child will receive an activity/workbook and the facilitator may teach the modules pertaining to each curriculum strand. Each child will also receive a personalized hard back book named “Homer and Me, a day at the Ball Park”. With the curriculum, a model of a baseball diamond is used and each child will receive a sticker to place on the diamond to display their progress towards their goal of reaching home plate and hitting a Home Run! Each module completion takes him or her step by step from being “on deck” to reaching each base and home plate safely. At the completion of the program, each child receives a certificate of accomplishment and membership into the S.T.R.I.K.E. Force, a worthy accomplishment!
Home Run Against Drugs Community Events
“Homer” and the S.T.R.I.K.E. Force members are available for community events to provide visibility and interaction between the children and the character. Typically, these events allow for the “Homer” baseball card to be distributed to the children and encourage them to visit the web-site for interactive opportunities with Homer. This also provides opportunities for corporate sponsors to acknowledge their support by providing give-away items for the children at these events.
Home Run Against Drugs Public Service Announcements
Home Run Against Drugs Public Service Announcements are in development for use on Television and Radio, which will support and promote the “Hit A Home Run Against Drugs!” message and “Homer”.
Home Run Against Drugs Spokespersons
An important element in the campaign is the involvement of local or national celebrity athletes who serve as positive role models to promote a drug-free lifestyle. There will also be members of the S.T.R.I.K.E. Force available to talk with children where there is a need for a speaker. The emphasis of these role models is to stress the importance of focusing on health, values, goals, and achievement.
Home Run Against Drugs S.T.R.I.K.E Force
The S.T.R.I.K.E. Force concept allows for children, parents, teens, and other interested parties to become a part of the team. The idea of being a part of something and making a difference will also provide for mentoring through adults and teens that enjoy working with youth. The concept also allows for highly visible members of the community to state their involvement through Public Service Announcements stating “I am a member of the S.T.R.I.K.E. Force, are you?”
Professional and National Sporting Events
Home Run Against Drugs is attempting to form partnerships with Major League, Minor League, and Little League organizations nationally to generate interest and exposure to large National corporations. These events are highly visible and allow Homer to generate tremendous popularity at large, possibly televised events. This will add even more “celebrity” status to the character, adding value to the appearances we make at local and regional levels.