Megan Ronk and her two co-workers put a lot of work, sweat, and time into the recently-concluded Paint the State contest, a challenge that allowed teens to create unique works of art for the chance to win up to $6,500 in prize. Ronk says she is happy with the results of the art contest, adding she and her crew plan to continue to push forward with the work of Idaho Meth Project in upcoming months.
Here’s what Ronk had to say about the Paint the State challenge:
We were extremely pleased with the success of the 2010 Paint the State contest. As you could see from the awards ceremony on Friday, hundreds of teens, parents, clubs and organizations were proactively involved in spreading the ‘Not Even Once’ message in communities throughout Idaho this summer. This is the exact type of grass-roots mobilization that is an objective of the Idaho Meth Project. Based on Paint the State’s success, it is something we would to hope to replicate again in the future. We have done a number of large-scale events since the Idaho Meth Project’s inception (including concerts, air shows and Paint the State), so our board of directors will continue to evaluate which of these programs help us best further our goal toward reducing meth use among teens and young adults.
Teens around Idaho should expect a continued presence of the anti-meth campaign as schools around the state come back into session in the next month. “With school starting up again in August or September, we will resume our efforts to conduct classroom presentations and school assemblies in middle and high schools throughout the state,” said Ronk. “Our volunteers also have an ongoing presence at local community events, fairs, festivals, etc.”
But before teens hear the message of the anti-drug effort in classes, some in the southwestern part of the state will have the opportunity to participate in one more large-scale anti-meth rally. Ronk explained that “Not Even Once Night” (NEON) is slated for the Western Idaho Fair, one of the largest fairs in the state, for Wednesday, Aug. 20. That activity encourages teens to come to the fair, dress up in bright colors, enjoy music from local bands, and hear about the dangers of meth. The idea for special night, said First Lady Lori Otter at the Paint the State awards ceremony, was the brainchild of the daughter of Ray Flachbart, president of Blue Cross of Idaho, one of the biggest sponsors of the art challenge.
In the final few months of the year, the project will begin preparing for the 2010 Idaho Meth Use & Attitudes Survey, which, Ronk explained, shows how teens and young adults feel about meth. Ronk and others, including Otter, hope to find the same rate of success in this year’s survey as was found in last year’s. When Otter announced the results of the 2009 Idaho Meth Use & Attitudes Survey, it was found that fewer teens were using meth overall, and that more teens are encouraging their friends to stay away from the harmful and highly-addictive drug. The report also showed that more teens talked to their parents about meth in 2009 than in previous years.
That report will be available in early 2011, Ronk says.