UDA teaches about destructive decisions

By Robert Wheary, Staff Writer • csrobwheary@gmail.com

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ROB WHEARY/Staff Photo Dauphin County YMCA representative Eric Rothermel puts several Upper Dauphin Area students through a demonstration that shows what breathing is like for a victim of emphysema during his talk about smoking and vaping at UDA’s Drug Education Day on March 8.

ELIZABETHVILLE – The 10th grade students of Upper Dauphin Area watched the laser and light show, danced and sang along to the music, mixed in there were some statistics about drinking and driving drunk.
Hosted by “Jimbo Stereo” the program really hit home when he presented a video about a young high school student that was involved in a car accident with his friends. One person was killed while the woman’s voice talked about her son, who suffered a triple trauma, brain injury and three crushed vertebrae, lying in a coma for three months.
Eventually, the young man would regain consciousness and recover to graduate from school and college. Many in the audience were happy and then turned into dead silence at the last few words the lady said.


“I want to introduce you to my son, James Mothersbaugh, who survived that crash, but today, but you know him as Jimbo Stereo.” the voice said.
“That really hit it home, didn’t it,” Mothersbaugh told the audience.
The Road Radio USA program was the featured presentation of Upper Dauphin Area’s annual Drug Education Day. 10th grade students take a day from their classes to hear different speakers talk about various topic, from the dangers of smoking and the effects taking drugs have on the brain.
For Mothersbaugh, sharing his story is “a Gift from God”, showing how the dangers of alcohol can effect not just them but many others.
“That is my mom’s voice in the video we play about my story,” Mothersbaugh said. “You see the kids watching it and even a few tears, then they get quiet that you can hear a pin drop when they learn it was me that went through all that.”
Mothersbaugh and his crews present his show to about 60 schools each year and was impressed with Upper Dauphin’s effort.
“I’m very impressed with all that the school had done today, sitting in with a few of the workshops and seeing the support from the faculty and administration for the programs. Everyone did a great job,” Mothersbaugh said.
The morning programs featured a demonstration of a K-9 unit from Derry Township that is trained in drug detection, and hearing the stories of two former teenage addicts from Gaudenzia House, a local rehabilitation facility.
“I started with smoking weed and then went to harder drug before eventually getting on heroin, it’s the worst trip to go on, I know that now,” “Joe” said.
For me, I just felt like my life was better high,” “Jay” another student said. “Rehab is not rock-bottom, its just the realization that you can do what you want to do with a sober life.”
Andrew Cooper, a probation officer with Dauphin County, presented the students with a number of statistics in the law of drunk driving and how its affects the young students.
“For any adult, the limit that they can be intoxicated is .08 percent for their blood alcohol level. For those under the age of 21, is .02, one drink, because your body is not fully developed and cannot process the alcohol fast enough,” Cooper said.
Eric Rothermel, of the Dauphin County YMCA explained how lungs are affected by smoking and how lung cancer and emphysema can affect how lungs are inflated.
“In a healthy lung, both lobes are inflated properly, while the diseased lung only goes halfway,” Rothermel said.
To demonstrate his point further, he called on four student volunteers to help him with an experiment. The student put a straw in their mouth and began to breathe through it, holding their nose so they could only breathe through the straw.”
Rothermel then had the students walk from one end of the room to the other, and many were out of breath from the constricted airway.
“You’ve just experienced what breathing is like for a person who suffers from lung disease,” Rothermel said.
The entire point of the day was summed up in a phrase from one of the presenters, Travis Snyder, representing the grass roots recovery group “The Skook Recovers”
“We hope that while you listen to us, you might gain a little bit of knowledge to make your own decisions and choices,” Snyder told the students. “Ask yourself the right questions and you can’t come up with the answer as to why you are doing something destructive, keeping asking yourself the questions. Develop awareness, the power of choice, and the understanding of right and wrong. Put that into practice and watch your life change.”

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