Students Face Heavy Issues with Together for Health Program

(Honesdale, October 18, 2017)… Opioids, bullying, suicide. Healthy relationships, yoga, career and personal readiness. All these topics were addressed head-on in this year’s Together for Health School Program for 7th and 9th graders in three area school districts. Together for Health, initiated more than a decade ago by Wayne Memorial Hospital’s Community Relations Department, is a joint effort with schools and local social service agencies to help students make healthy lifestyle choices.

A highlight of the program was a drama by The Wallenpaupack Players, a young theatre group from Wallenpaupack Area High school, about a student who chooses to kill herself after a series of events with family, school officials and peers. Seventh graders in Wayne Highlands, Western Wayne and Wallenpaupack Area middle schools were asked “If you were the victim, what would you do differently?”

“The students had answers that the Players acted out,” said Donna Decker, RN, manager of WMH Community Health and co-organizer of the Together for Health School Program, “such as ‘go back and sit your mother down to listen to you’ and the results were amazing.”

The Pittsburgh-based Saltworks Theatre group’s “Off Script” presentation kicked off Together for Health (TFH) with a drama about opioid/drug abuse.  The three-part program also included interactive yoga, a session on Drugs and Alcohol, Readiness Planning, Healthy Relationships and Volunteering.

Decker said student comments, which included statements such as “I feel like I learned something new” and “it was a good talk about marijuana usage,” indicated many students were listening. “And that’s good,” she added, “these years are a formative time for young people. We want to keep them engaged.”

The TFH program involved many outside agencies this year, including representatives from Yoga International, Victims Intervention Program, Wayne County Drugs and Alcohol, American Red Cross, Penn State Cooperative Extension.

Photo: Wallenpaupack Players from Wallenpaupack High School Advanced Theatre I and II classes taking questions from Wayne Highlands seventh graders at Wayne Highlands Middle School about changing the outcome of a drama about suicide. Facing front, left to right: Jessica Vitz, Alexa Wildenberg, Rose LoDolce (holding up notebook).