Southwest Behavioral Health's Rim Guidance Center is sponsoring a community event to bring awareness to the problem of underage drinking from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 5 at the Rim Country Middle School gymnasium, 304 S. Meadow St. in Payson. Admission is free.
The "Start Talking Before They Start Drinking" event is targeted to help families with elementary and middle school-aged children educate their children about the dangers of under-age drinking.
Festivities will include games, contests and prizes. There will be free food, giveaways, face painting booths, skits and puppet shows throughout the afternoon.
Later in the day, winners of the fourth-grade poster contest, along with the fifth-grade essay contest will be announced. The grand prize will be awarded at the event's conclusion.
The "Start Talking Before They Start Drinking" event is co-sponsored by the Payson Police Department, Payson Unified Schools and additional community groups.
There will be educational resources available to families free of charge.
According to SBH Rim Guidance Center's Debra Shewey, who oversees the Children in Crisis Program, "We know that parents who start an early dialogue with their children about drinking and drugs have a much higher success rate in avoiding these behaviors during their tumultuous teen years. It's never too soon to teach your children to say ‘no,' and it's much harder to address these issues with teens who are already subjected to peer pressures. Talk to your children when they are young -- that's the message we're trying to send to parents through this fun, spirited community event."