Coalition aims to reclaim 420

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The Douglas County substance abuse coalition joins the effort to reclaim a day that has become renowned as a pot smoker’s holiday. The coalition is leading the charge to “Take Back 420,” encouraging students to volunteer or choose a service activity on April 20, a day that has gained notoriety as an anarchist’s dream.

The coalition is helping to coordinate day-long volunteer opportunities for Douglas County youth at non-profit organizations and local agencies as a positive alternative to more self-destructive choices.

“The date is two days before Earth Day, and it’s the same weekend as Global Youth Service Day,” said Carla Turner, organizer of the event and coalition member. “These are days when people all over put their hands and hearts to work for the good of the planet and our fellow planet-dwellers.”

The coalition is working with local agencies that include the Parker Task Force, Partners Equine Therapy, National Alliance on Mental Illness, and TLC Meals on Wheels. Others are listed on the Take Back 420 website at takeback420.blogspot.com.

Area youths can visit the website to sign up for volunteer events. Those who volunteer for four or more hours can enter into a drawing for gift cards. Take Back 420 will also award the “Golden Shovel Award” to the district or private high school completing the most hours.

Douglas County School District students who volunteer on Take Back 420 day will earn hours toward their 20-hour community service graduation requirement.

“We’d like to see the youth of Douglas County make April 20th memorable for service,” Turner said. “We’d like to emphasize the good things our teens do and celebrate all that is wonderful about our teens.”

The Substance Abuse Coalition of Douglas County was established in 2006 to advocate for evidence-based approaches to substance use prevention and to provide substance abuse prevention, assessment, early intervention and high-level intervention options in Douglas County. For more information about the coalition and to view available resources in and around Douglas County visit the Virtual Substance Abuse Resource Fair at substanceabuseresources.blogspot.com.