Right Path looks forward to busy school year

The Right Path for Washington County wrapped up our ninth summer of safe teen and family events and is excited to begin a new school year with opportunities to engage youth in community service projects.

We are best known for our summer dances and swim parties, but there is more happening with The Right Path during the school year. In addition to fundraising to help offset summer events, we have information booths at health fairs, work with health classes, work with school service groups on community service projects including The Right Path’s own “race against hunger,” the Righditarod, partner with Washington County Sheriff’s Office for medication take back days, celebrate Red Ribbon Week when our youth pledge to live drug free lives and collaborate with our community partners. New this year will be a youth philanthropy board established with the Marietta Community Foundation.

Our mission is to promote healthy youth development by reducing and preventing youth substance abuse and by continually building and strengthening our broad-based community coalition to support healthy behavioral choices among our youth. This would not be possible without the support of the Washington County Behavioral Health Board and The Right Path board members. Our board has remained strong and supportive of our mission, continuing to chaperone dances, promote activities and remain dedicated to our youth.

Every event we host is a result of community support, our many partners and the youth that show up week after week to help set-up, tear down, chaperone and mentor each other and remind us that we are fortunate to work with so many wonderful youth and future leaders. Everything is possible when we work together for the good of the whole.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “It is the most beautiful compensations in life … that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

There are so many people to thank and I apologize if I have left anyone out, but it truly is a community effort to ensure it runs smoothly. Thanks to our venues: Marietta College, Lois Arnold; Marietta Family YMCA, Suzi Zumwalde, Matt Kress and staff; the Marietta Aquatic Center; our DJ Mobile Jams Entertainment, Don Liedtke (who has been a partner with us since the beginning, first as a Marietta College student, driving from Dover every Tuesday night to provide our music); Premier Productions, Chris Wilson, Pat Horner, for filling in for Don and providing our photo booth at this year’s Block Party; City of Marietta, police and fire department, Susie Joyce, Recreation Department, Water and Streets Department, Tanner Huffman, Marietta Aquatic Center, Stephanie, Caleb and staff; our media partners, Clear Channel Radio, Greg, Doug, Chuck, John and Kurt; WMOA, Johnny, Jamie, Austin; Marietta Times, Claire Heiby; The Anchor, Brad Bauer; our Tuesday night chaperones: K Mart; Juvenile Court; Washington County Behavioral Health Board, Miriam Keith, David Brown and BHB board members; Eve, Inc., Lasley Earley, Lynnaya Ross; Rotary, Heather Allender; TRP board members, Justin Moody, Karen and Carl Waller, Bruce Johnson, Stephanie Davis, Letha Haas, Judge Williams, Joellen Masten, Dee Standish; our youth chaperones, Colton, Andrew, Josie, Jay, Brady, Austin, Tyler, Zach, Adam, Jonathan, Cain, Daniel and all our youth volunteers. Special thanks to Marietta Community Foundation, Carol, Heather and Nici, for going above and beyond the call of Duty, United Way of the Mid-Ohio Valley, Joyce Mather and board members for sponsoring our annual block party and event messages; Washington County United Way; Washington State Community College, Gary Williams; Marietta College non-profit LEADS, Heather Eichner; Ron’s Port-a-Johns; Time Well Wasted Backyard Inflatables, Deron Alkire; Officer Graghan; Wendy’s, Kim and Ray Blackburn for their continued support of our effort; Coca Cola for Block Party prizes; Marietta Bantam Baseball League for refreshments; Sno-Biz of Marietta, Elisha, Kathy, Mike and family for supplying tasty treats every Tuesday night and refreshing the crowd at our Block Party and all who work behind the scenes to support our youth.

We look forward to another year as we continue to promote healthy youth development.

Cathy Harper is coordinator of The Right Path, a United Way Agency.