Character program could be coming to schools

WEIRTON – An organization dedicated toward the elimination of drugs in the area is hoping to work with local school systems to bring a new character building program into the high schools of Hancock and Brooke counties.

Representatives of Never Alone West Virginia met with officials from Brooke High, Weirton Madonna High and Hancock County schools Wednesday to discuss the program created by Mainstream Life Solutions.

Patti Barnabei, founder and president of Never Alone, explained they want to assist in providing a drug-free awareness program which also could assist students with self esteem issues and other problems.

“There’s nothing anymore,” Barnabei said, noting previous programs such as Students Against Destructive Decisions and Drug Abuse Resistance Education. “Our kids need something to feel good about themselves.”

On Wednesday, those gathered heard by Ry Torhan, an educational specialist with Mainstream Life Solutions, who discussed some of the programs they currently offer for schools in Columbiana County, Ohio.

He explained the 16-week program is aimed at assisting students lead a full, impactful life and focus on areas such as bullying, self-image and character, as well as options for a mentoring program.

Torhan said the program will work with the schools and faculty to determine how it would best work in each school.

“We want to connect with as many students and as many people as possible,” Torhan said. “We’re flexible. Nothing is set in stone.”

Torhan explained there would be a cost for the program, but Mainstream often looks to the local business community to provide financial support in order to alleviate some of the costs to the school systems.

Barnabei said Never Alone would be willing to assist with a portion of the funding, adding if they needed to start small – such as only one grade level at each school – they could do so.

“I feel it’s a great opportunity,” she said.