Back to School Bash planned for July 20 in Columbiana

Published 5:01 pm Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Central Alabama Wellness and the Tri-City Impact team are currently preparing to present another entry of their annual Back to School Bash Event later this month.

This year’s Back to School Bash will take place at Columbiana’s Old Mill Square—in front of the Shelby County Arts Council—on Saturday, July 20, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. During that time, event organizers will also seek to raise awareness on crucial issues that can affect the health of minors.

“It is a way to give back to the community,” said Zina Cartwell, prevention director for Central Alabama Wellness. “We are going to be giving out 300 book bags with school supplies in them and it will be a block party atmosphere. We will have music and other vendors who will be out there—we’ll have Kona Ice—and it’s just going to be a fun activity for the entire family while promoting mental wellness and drug prevention.”

Those coming to the event will have the opportunity to receive one of those 300 book bags on a first come first served basis. The materials have been prepared by the organizations and are intended for students in need of the supplies for the upcoming school year. Much of those supplies, which were donated by local organization Family Connection, will be coupled with other items procured by Central Alabama Wellness via grant funding.

Amongst the supply giveaways and the day of fun, the two hosting organizations will also seek to spread awareness and information on the dangers of underage drinking. In fact, one of the central themes of the event is titled, “Parents who Host, Lose the Most,” and is meant to educate parents on the dangers presented by social hosting.

“What we are trying to do is raise awareness (on the dangers) of social hosting,” Cartwell said. “A lot of people don’t understand what social hosting is, which is providing alcohol to minors while at home. We want to get rid of the social norm that people believe it is okay for parents to give alcohol to minors because it is (still) against the law.”

Cartwell also highlighted the increased risk that underage drinking poses in creating other dangerous situations such as drinking and driving and a minor’s increased risk of alcohol poisoning. She further highlighted alcohol’s tendency to serve as a gateway drug that can open doors to other intoxicants and higher risk behaviors, while also forming the precedence of  unhealthy coping mechanisms, especially in younger individuals.

“Underage drinking can set up a pattern of drug use and further alcohol use because the younger a person starts drinking, or using any types of drugs, the more likely it is that they may become an alcoholic or a drug user,” Cartwell said. “We want to make sure that parents know that it is not a simple rite of passage and that it can actually set up a lifelong addiction.”

All in the local community are welcome to attend the event and will also have the opportunity to receive additional resources and information from a variety of other local organizations that will be present during the gathering.

“Not only are we providing school supplies but we are providing resources for various things that people will need and information for who they can contact,” Cartwell said. “It is going to be a great event.”

Those who might be interested in donating school supplies or other resources for the work done by Central Alabama Wellness or the Tri-City Impact Team may contact Cartwell directly at 205-728-8454.