Adults reached out to kids in hopes of making a difference. That was the goal of ‘Operation Reach Out’ held at the state Capitol Thursday. It’s the 13th year for the event.
Fourth and fifth grade students from Boone, Kanawha and Lincoln counties spent the day learning about some serious issues, focusing on things like bullying, Internet safety and alcohol abuse. They’re topics that will eventually impact most students their age.
U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin, one of the organizers of the event, says they bring in emergency responders from all over the state to interact with students and break down those barriers.
“Law enforcement, fire fighters from the federal, state and local levels, they are all with them and the [students] don’t need to be afraid of them. They are there to help you,” stressed Goodwin.
The West Virginia State Police brought in their K-9 teams to demonstrate to students how the dogs can catch the bad guys. The students were fascinated as the dogs went on the “attack.”
Nearby, another officer was talking with a small group about the dangers of substance abuse, having them stand on one foot with one eye closed and keep their balance.
The activities are all about getting students involved.
“When they are engaged, that’s when you can reach them,” stresses Goodwin. “And these are such critical issues to talk to them about.”
The students will take what they’ve learned back to their schools and homes. Goodwin hopes they put it to use when faced with tough situations that can sometimes trip up kids.