Funding for a yearly competition that sought to educate local kids on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse has run out.
The Drug Quiz Show lost its sponsor, Rite Aid, in 2010, but carried on through March 2012 thanks to fundraising efforts and grants. Manlius resident Susan Meidenbauer, who served as the program’s executive director, said the program’s cancelation was not for lack of interest.
“We still have interested students, committed school advisors and volunteers, award-winning study materials, and the support of many professional organizations across the state,” she said. “What we don't have is money.”
Middle school students from Christian Brothers Academy, North Syracuse Junior High, Wellwood Middle School, Tully and Chitttenango took part in last year’s regional competition in March. Limited funds kept CBA, the winning team, from competing against teams from across the state, which had been the tradition.
Meidenbauer said the program needed $120,000 to continue another year without a sponsor; supporters were able to raise about $40,000 through fundraising and donations.
The Drug Quiz Show was started in 1985 and has since seen participation from nearly 500,000 middle school students statewide. About 6,500 students and 40 middle schools from Onondaga County took part in the show over the years. Almost 30 years later, Meidenbauer said the need for the program is ever-present.
“All across New York State, we're still seeing problems with underage drinking, marijuana and prescription drug abuse, and bullying,” she said. “I feel there's still a very strong need for the Drug Quiz Show because it provides two critical elements: education and life skills. We want kids to know about the dangers of drugs, but also to have an arsenal of real-life strategies to use throughout their lives to be healthy and stay safe."
She added: “I would much rather put money into prevention than treatment.”
Meidenbauer said she continues to look for grant and sponsorship opportunities that might eventually bring the program back.
“We'll need about $120,000 to revive the program,” she said. “For that, a sponsor would get the title, innumerable public relations benefits, and the knowledge that they are keeping a valued tradition going in our community.”
Anyone interested in sponsoring the Drug Quiz Show should contact Meidenbauer at 569-3093 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ned Campbell can be reached at email@example.com.