Adapted from Safeco Insurance's Facebook page:
Bill White Insurance Agency in March 2018 earned a $10,000 donation for Don’t Meth With Missouri (MO). Bill is an independent agent and member of Springfield Southeast Rotary Club who supports DMWM's efforts to stem this area's
epidemic of methamphetamine abuse.
The average age of first use of the deadly drug is 12.5 years old. DMWM, a program founded and supported by Springfield Southeast Rotary Club, has been taking the fight against meth into schools with an education program tailored to fifth grade, seventh grade and high school students.
“Our educational programs are having a huge impact on getting Springfield area youth to say no to methamphetamine,” said David Hamm, board president of Don’t Meth With MO. “Fellow-board members like Bill who develop and present our educational programs are changing the conversation about drugs, one classroom at a time.”
For fifth graders, meth is in the future, in seventh grade students are beginning to feel peer pressure to experiment with drugs, and in high school the availability of meth is prevalent.
Don’t Meth With MO programs for their youngest audience focuses on leadership, goal setting and good vs. bad decision making. Their seventh-grade activity uses a Jeopardy game where students face off on their knowledge of drug dangers in categories like ‘Poison Potion’ and ‘RX Only.’ High school students gather annually for an assembly presentation by a former addict who tells his compelling story of addiction and recovery.
Launched in 2010, Don’t Meth With MO is patterned after a similar successful initiative created by a Rotary Club in Farmington, New Mexico. Rotary members split up presentation duties, which can become very intense during the school year. Fifth grade presentations roll out through October and every day committee members present at two schools, reaching a total of 37 schools in Springfield.
Seventh grade health teachers host Don’t Meth With MO presenters every quarter, and at the high school level, assemblies are presented for one solid week.
“Meth is used by 46% of families in our local juvenile services system. With an addiction rate of over 90%, the danger in Springfield and surrounding communities continues to rise for children living in meth lab homes who are at increased risk of everything from physical and sexual abuse, to exposure to toxic chemicals, burns, substance abuse and malnutrition,” said Bill. “At the end of each presentation we have the kids repeat our mantra ‘we are the future – don’t meth with us!’ as loud as they can so that the entire school hears it. Their young voices echo our hope for the future of Springfield in the ongoing battle against methamphetamine.”
A 2018 Safeco Insurance Make More Happen Award will be a huge help. The $10,000 donation to Don’t Meth With MO from Safeco on behalf of the Bill White Agency will contribute to the charity’s goal of being able to offer the school presentations to each Springfield school, every school year. The monies will also help them reach their goal to provide 2,000 backpacks with t-shirts, wristbands, pencils and bookmarks that reinforce the anti-drug messaging long after the presentations end.