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Healthy activities planned at cultrual center for New Year's Eve; rides also being provided

Sarah Cummins

12/20/2001 12:00:00 AM

Coordinators of a New Year's Eve sober event hope to provide healthy holiday activities for families while giving safe transportation home to others.

Safe and Sober will take place at the Elijah Elk Cultural Center Community Building on Dec. 31 from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

"This will not be a place to drop off your kids," explained Renee Dillard, Ojibwe Substance Abuse prevention educator. "This is a place to join your kids and have a good time."

The evening will include, board games, Playstation games on a big screen, videos, music, karaoke and goodies.

Another aspect of the sober event will include free rides home to anyone in the community on Dec. 31. The Soaring Eagle Resort will provide transportation shuttles for people who cannot safely get home on New Year's Eve. People can call 405-0607 anytime between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. to be driven home by someone who is sober.

The family oriented evening is sponsored by the Seventh Generation Program, Behavioral Health Programs, Women's Circle and Oasis UNITY.

"I feel that it is partially the women's responsibility to take care of the community," explained Women's Circle member Debbie Squillets. "By doing the Safe and Sober New Year's weekend, the women are doing their part in protecting people from the dangers of drinking and driving."

Although any community member will be driven home and will not be asked any questions, the coordinators said they will not take anyone to a bar. No one who has been drinking will be permitted to attend the evening activities at the Elijah Elk Cultural Center either.

"The plan is to provide people with a safe and sober ride home-no questions asked," explained Dillard. "We will take people straight home. My main concern is to keep people out of the headlines."

The event coordinators said they do not encourage overindulging in alcohol, but they realize many people drink on New Year's Eve.

"We are not condoning drinking," said Dillard. "We are acknowledging that there is a situation here that needs to be addressed. We need to keep people safe."

For more information, call (989) 775-4915. Once again, the Safe and Sober ride pager number is 405-0607.