‘It is important for kids up here to know they can do more than they think they can.’—Monick Powers, 16
By Patric Hedlund—Runner Emily Hon, 10 and a group of laughing grandparents were playfully color-bombed by Monick Powers, 16 and her friends Saturday, Oct. 5 at the “Color the Mountain” 5k Run. Puffy clouds of pink, yellow, blue and green cornstarch greeted runners as they passed the MyC3 (Mountain Youth Can Change Communities) table.
Children, teens, parents and elders walked, waved, laughed and ran the 3.1 mile (5 kilometer or ‘5k’) track winding through Frazier Mountain Park. The color showers are a celebration of achievement as people logged their miles. Over at the Boys & Girls Club table, Starr Willie, 11 and mom Stephanie Bishop handed water and packs of energy snacks to runners as they passed.
Color the Mountain is a fundraiser created by MyC3 to provide leadership training for mountain youth. The youth group grew out of McCASA (which stands for Mountain Communities Coalition Against Substance Abuse), funded by a federal Drug Free Communities grant.
“The run has been a great success,” McCASA coordinator Lisa Walter said. “We had 100 people registered.” Runners paid $25 each. They received a white T-shirt to be splattered with colors along the track. Ida Coover posted the MyC3 vision: “We have a friendly, positive community where it is easy for kids to grow up alcohol and drug free…. Our community is rich with fun and healthy activities for young people. Adults are aware of the dangers of substance abuse, set positive examples and help motivate kids to create a successful future.”
Cathy Vlatch from Lockwood Valley walked with Bobbie Sala from Palmdale. “We want to help with the youth leadership project. McCASA started when my stepkids were going to school at Frazier Mountain High School. I think they are causing change in the community. The youth are making the changes,” Vlatch said.
FMHS student Madisson Richardson, 13 and El Tejon student Olivia Carlson, 13 are MyC3 members. Covered with sparkling colors, they said, “We went to UC Santa Barbara for a three-day camp for leadership skills. We need to raise money to bring a camp like that up here. This represents that we are accomplishing our goal to start a leadership camp here.”
Monick Powers agrees: “It is important for kids up here to know they can do more than they think they can. Leadership camp changed my life. It made me feel I really can change the world. Drug abuse is one thing I’d like to change. I grew up with these kids up here and if they start to drink and use drugs, they begin to change…. I want my friends back.”
Above, Monick Powers, 16 is a MyC3 member.
Above right, Jeremiah St. Jeor, a junior at FMHS and his dad, Keri St. Jeor (new principal of Frazier Park School), ran the track to support local youth leadership camps.
Madisson Richardson, 13, Olivia Carlson, 13 and Emily Clinard at Color the Mountain.
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This is part of the October 11, 2013 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.
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