Captain Shield and Bucky reach 900 with anti-drug message
The Pearl River County United Coalition (PRCUC) held their first elementary school outreach program on Friday, March 14.
Approximately 900 Pearl River Central students, second through fifth grades, were introduced to anti-drug messages and reinforcement of personal safety practices through the superhero Captain Shield and his side-kick Bucky.
The inspiration for a ministry using characters named Captain Shield and Bucky came to Dawn Bechtel seven years ago. Through a chance conversation with Highland Hospital Administrator Mark Stockstill, BSN, and a shared vision of eliminating county drug abuse, the two organized PRCUC and incorporated Captain Shield and Bucky as the mascots for the group.
The program featured Pearl River Central high school actors, cheerleaders and dance team members. Special guest speakers included PRC School Superintendent Alan Lumpkin, District Attorney Hal Kittrell, Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department members and coalition members.
“This is an outstanding program,” Lumpkin said. “This is definitely a program that needs to continue in the schools. Getting the information to the students at such an early age is definitely the way to go with anti-drug education. I am a firm believer in the coalition’s motto, ‘Prevention before intervention.’”
Lumpkin said getting the extra curricular groups involved, prompted the younger students to want to become involved. He said kids pay attention to other kids, more so than adults.
“You could see the excitement for Captain Shield as students were filing out of the auditorium,” Lumpkin said. “They were high fiving him and Bucky on the way out. This program made an impression.”
Bechtel, who has worked with the coalition for two years to see efforts come to fruition, said the experience was very special for everyone involved.
“We could not have done this without the cooperation of the PRC School District, sheriff’s department, district attorney’s office, Resurrection Life Ministries and many others who contributed time, effort and funding but did not want acknowledgement,” she said.
Next spring, more programs will be held and the goal is to spread them throughout elementary schools in all three of the county’s school districts, Bechtel said.
The group is already planning their third annual March Against Drugs, which Captain Shield and Bucky will also be a part.