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HEALTH Brain Drain teaches dangers of drugs Kiwanis Club funds school program, PTO funds parents' program

Marshfield Mariner - 5/10/2017

Marshfield fifth-grade students will be learning more about how their brain functions – and the affect of drugs on the brain - through a program called Brain Drain.

Marshfield Kiwanis funded the $2,7000Brain Drain program from Caron, an organization focused on addiction education, rehabilitation and programming, for all of the seventh- and fifth-grade students.

The PTO also funded a parents’ program to get the same information to the whole family.

Traci Wojciechowski talked to Eames Way students Wednesday, May 3, explaining how different sections of their brain work. The rest of the elementary schools will get presentations this week, wrapping up on May 17.

The interactive presentation had students getting out of their seats to do different activities that had them thinking about which part of the brain was controlling that action.

For example, a student breathing was using his brain stem, a student dancing was using his cerebellum, and the student who had to think of three TV shows was using her limbic system.

“Your brain is this three-pound wrinkly mass that controls every breath you take,” Wojciechowski said. “We need to protect this amazing organ that controls everything we do.”

She then talked to Eames Way students about the way drugs, like alcohol, nicotine and marijuana, affect these functions of the brain.

“Alochol has a big impact on the brain stem,” she said. “It affects breathing and actually slows down breathing.”

The students learned about how the brain is still developing until people are about 25, and drugs and alcohol have a harsher impact on young, developing brains.

Wojciechowski also talked to students about how to say "no" to drugs effectively, including standing up tall, looking someone in the eye and not making excuses, but just saying "no."

“I think it’s important for students to understand the facts about drugs and what they do to a person’s body,” said Marybeth Battis, coordinator of comprehensive health for Marshfield Public Schools.

Battis said she was grateful for the funding of the program through the Kiwanis, and the PTOs for funding the parents’ presentation.

“I really want to thank the Kiwanis,” said Battis. “It was really helpful.”

The program has received positive feedback from parents and staff, Battis said, adding that she’s working on getting training for teachers and staff to keep the message consistent throughout the district.

Follow Kaila Braley on Twitter @MarinerKaila.


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