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Drug-free Fundraiser Expanding to Benefit Homeschoolers

A community event that aims to help keep children off drugs is expanding in scope.

Beginning this year, funds raised by the Belmont County Staying Clean Car, Bike, and Truck Show Festival will also go toward homeschooled children.

“We’re preparing for the 2020 car show to support the drug-free concept of all grade school and high school children in Belmont County,” organizer Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato said. “Our goal is to so inundate, so saturate the young child’s mind with the drug-free concept that by the time he or she reaches the age of seventh grade, eighth grade, freshman or high school, he or she has no decision to be made.”

The Belmont County Staying Clean Club initially involved outreach and programs for public schools. It has since expanded to private schools.

“We are extraordinarily proud to announce today we are expanding our concept to include homeschoolers,” Fregiato said Friday. “We’re pleased to join forces with the juvenile court here at Belmont County, Ohio, to spread the drug-free concept.”

The program includes classes for grade school pupils. Fregiato added that the public and community support for the event and the program has been overwhelming.

“We think it’s working,” he said, citing letters of thanks received from elementary school children. High school participants also receive rewards such as gift cards, in-school parties and an end-of-the-year picnic. “I know we are all obsessed — and rightly so — with the concept of drugs in Belmont County, but to see what’s happening with the youth in Belmont County, … it’s great.”

Juvenile and Probate Judge Al Davies said the juvenile court is always looking for ways to expand the club.

“This gives us an opportunity to do that, by including homeschoolers who are now going to be eligible to participate,” Davies said. “We have approximately 100 kids that are homeschooled in Belmont County. We currently have three homeschoolers that are participating in Belmont County Schools Staying Clean. We hope to grow that number and provide these students the opportunity to take advantage of all the incentives and all the educational opportunities that come along.”

Davies said there are more than 1,500 middle school and high school student members of Staying Clean.

“We are not seeing the number of filings of drug offenses in juvenile court like we have in years past,” he added. “Schools Staying Clean in conjunction with other programs we offer … is definitely having an effect. We’re very thankful for the Classy Chassis Car Club and this fundraiser that they put on for us.”

Davies did not have numbers on hand to chart the decline in offenses, but he said he was able to discontinue his juvenile drug court for lack of need.

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