Corrigan youth program one step closer to stopping war on drugs

CORRIGAN, TX (KTRE) - The war on drugs has begun in Corrigan and a local group is fighting hard to get the city's youth off the streets and back in the classroom.

Joe Walker Sr., a faith based counselor and creator of Youth Overcomers, says he felt the need to help kids struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.

"I began to look around in the community and I see the kids out on the streets. I see it at the schools and I really have a compassion. We were given the opportunity so we came up this summer with the YO program," Walker said.

Barely two months old, the YO program is a gathering ground for kids and teenagers who might be struggling with substance abuse or daily stresses.

"I live in this community and the children really need help; all of our children do. If we're able to reach out and offer them something different perhaps we can bring change in our community," Brenda Whitaker, a licensed drug and alcohol abuse counselor, said.

Whitaker says she has even seen kids kindergarten age abuse drug and alcohol.

"If they live in a high crisis area or area where there is a lot of drug activity or maybe their parents aren't spending enough time with them, you'll find that children reach out to different avenues," Whitaker said.

Each month, YO dives into those avenues and YO's lesson on bullying really made an impact on 15-year-old Ebony Chadwick.

"Most adults might not understand what some kids go through in life and how they are pressured to do drugs and stuff. It really helps," Chadwick said.

With the help from the city, YO has been getting donations from local businesses for door prizes and food.

"We do see that we have a lot of alcohol and drug abuse among the youth in our community and you know we want to change that," Johnna Lowe, Mayor pro tem for the City of Corrigan and the administrative assistant for the Corrigan Housing Authority, said.

But one thing that isn't changing is the love YO has for its kids.

"I graduated here. I've seen them go through school and let drugs and alcohol stop them from going further in college and if I can help just one child from making that mistake, I tell you, it's a blessing," Walker said.

Walker says the YO program really needs help with transportation so they can make sure every kid interested in the group can get to the meeting. He would also like kids from other towns to be able to participate in the group.

For more information on how you can get involved in YO, call Walker at (936) 634-7605 or the Corrigan Housing Authority at (936) 398-5351. The next YO meeting will be at the Corrigan Housing Authority office on 306 Matthews Street on September 10 at 6:30 p.m.