Kingston Junior Citizens.
Every January brings with it Kingston Junior Citizens – at least for me and my fellow Hope UK educator Alan. Held at Chessington World of Adventure, this is a marathon Drug education event for us during which every Year 7 child in Kingston Borough gets some vital information drugs. In all we see about 1,800 children each year.
How the event is structured:
Junior Citizens events all run in a similar way. The children from a few schools in the area concerned arrive, are divided into teams and spend the morning or afternoon going round 10 ‘stations’ each of which aims to give information to help them be a better citizen. As well as drugs, the children attending Kingston JC, learn about fire safety, Dr ABC, stranger danger, feeding the ducks correctly, bullying, travelling on the trains and buses, cycle safety and water safety (though at different Junior Citizens the options can vary).
What we do:
Each station only has 10 minutes per group so must make their points quickly and effectively. I don’t have to tell you that this is a challenge for drug education as there is so much we could say! I always preface our talk by saying we are sorry it is so short to explain why we must zip through everything so fast which helps. In the ten minutes we cover alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, syringes, Legal Highs, Solvent abuse, Paracetamol and Cannabis – quite a lot! Most of the information given is new to the children and the rest reinforces some previous training in school. The syringe info (don’t ever pick up or kick a used syringe) is practically always news to them and you can see the information being retained.
Happily, this year, as in all the four years I have done Kingston JC (Alan has done considerably more) things went really well and our feedback has been excellent.
- If you don’t know what is in it, bin it! Don’t take drugs. We now know what happens if we were to take drugs.
- The person who delivered it was very knowledgeable. We liked that it challenged us.
- It taught us the dangers of drugs and why we should never use them. It was good to see the effects drugs can have on us and how bad they can be for our bodies. A really good thing was that we got to see some of the harmful materials first hand-needles etc.
(Written by Kate S)