Students in Rogers County will be heading back to school to a new year and a brand new drug prevention program.
It's the first of its kind in the state of Oklahoma. People involved with the program are hoping it educates students on a topic affecting countless Oklahoma families. Program leaders have already started hiring educators and said most of them are retired teachers. Organizers said districts can mold the program to their individual needs.
Light of Hope leaders Layla Freeman and Nancy Phelps run a nonprofit that does all kinds of work for the community but it focuses on helping people with addiction, whether it's theirs or someone else's. It has been their mission, since Layla lost her daughter Ashley to a drug addiction.
"She lives in my heart forever and I miss her every single day,” said Layla Freeman from Light of Hope. "I do this every day to keep Ashley's memory alive."
Now the Light of Hope team is bringing their passion and experience into classrooms all over Rogers County. They partnered with the Drug Enforcement Administration to bring a drug education prevention program to students.
"Their curriculum is highly accredited. It is written by the highest level educated sources out there on addiction and mental health,” said Freeman.
The trainers will go through a PowerPoint in class with basic information tailored to an elementary, middle or high school audience.
Freeman said some of the information might even help kids with drug abuse issues they are dealing with at home.
"It gives them tools for life,” said Freeman.
"Once we get the open dialogue with parents and kids maybe it will open up doors that we can at least talk about it at home. Because again, it is not really anything we talk about around the dinner table,” said Nancy Phelps.
It's a program Freeman believes could give students something her daughter struggled to grab hold of....hope.
"There wasn't a support system like we provide now,” said Freeman.
"It's why we do what we do. Every day,” said Phelps.
The program is starting this fall in Rogers County. If your school or district is interested you can contact Light of Hope here.