The Drug Free Alton Coalition hosted the “Walk In Stride, Don’t Provide” Town Hall meeting at Alton High School, Oct. 23, to talk to the community about the efforts to improve parent to student relationships and speak out about the use of drugs and alcohol.

Guest speakers of the evening included Madison County, Illinois State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons, Alton Mayor Brant Walker, Alton Police Department’s Chief Jason Simmons and Madison County Sheriff Department’s Deputy Jeremy Dunham.

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The main focus of the meeting was the importance of coming together as a community and working to improving the influences we have on the youth.

“You can’t control the entire world but you can control your own home,” said Gibbons. “As a parent, you have the responsibility to do that under the law. But that’s not the only reason you do it, you do it because you want to set a good example and to provide a safe place for your kids.”

Melanie D. Nagel, project manager for DFA, proclaimed surveys show that parents in our community are the ones providing alcohol to their kids and their friends, which is a prosecutable offense.

“The data that we are receiving from our students really show that there are parent providers in this community,” said Nagel. “The kids that say they are drinking, most of them are getting them (drinks) from parents and at parties. We need to help each other combat all the problems in the community, we need to work together to address these issues.”

Three juniors from Alton High School, active leaders in Power of Peers, spoke out about alcohol and drug abuse and why it is important to them to make a difference and improve the student body. President Kabren Riddle, Vice PresidentSophia Rodriguez and Secretary Jessica Borman all shared their dedication to making a difference in the community.

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“It is very important to all of us because we do see things in this community and we want to make things better,” said Riddle. “We want things to improve for everybody, for future generations, so everyone can have better lives.”

Power of Peers is a student driven organization that speaks out about drugs and alcohol and influences a more positive alternate lifestyle outside of the party scene. The group meets on Monday evenings after school to plan and brainstorm ideas to improve the community and become leaders in society.

“We try to improve our community because what we do now impacts our future,” said Borman.

In appreciation of everyone that attended the meeting, door prizes were awarded to include gift cards to Slacker's and Applebee’s, a free oil change from Quality Pontiac and even a 32” flat screen television donated by Alton Refrigeration and Home Furnishings.

Story By: Brittany J. Kohler []

To see highlights of the meeting, see video below.

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Drug Free Alton Town hall meeting