The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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April 24, 2014

Coalition alerting parents to underage drinking

CAMANCHE — There are two significant milestones that many students look forward to during their high school careers — prom and graduation.

However, because of bad decision-making, some students will never get to experience those rights of passage as a high school student.

To prevent that from happening to the teenagers in this community, the DeWitt/Camanche Coalition is getting proactive when it comes to underage drinking.

“Our biggest message is the consequences of underage drinking and how it impacts you and how it impacts other people,” DeWitt/Camanche event chairwoman Sara Crigger said. “We’re just trying to get the word out there to as many people as we can.”

In March, the coalition met with students at Camanche High School and Camanche Middle School to discuss the consequences of underage drinking. On Wednesday, the group is sending their message out to parents.

To drive their message home, the coalition enlisted the help of Kelly Sparks for the 6 p.m. meeting at the Camanche Fire Department. She will speak about her experiences with underage drinking.

Sparks is the mother of Justin Sparks who in 2011 got behind the wheel while intoxicated that resulted in an accident, killing two of his friends.

On Wednesday, Kelly will share that story hoping it will open the eyes of parents whose children could be put in the same situation.

“A lot of parents out there don’t think that this could happen to them and I don’t know if a lot of parents take it seriously,” Crigger said. “It just takes one bad decision to change their lives forever.”

Camanche Mayor Ken Fahlbeck strongly supports the coalition’s efforts to combat underage drinking and hopes those efforts will hit home to some of the parents and teenagers that reside in Camanche.

“Any little bit that we can put out into the public to influence their children to stay off the drugs and alcohol, the better off this community will be,” he said. “A lot of people are blind about this stuff so I think it’s good to make them aware of the stuff they don’t realize is going on.”

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