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YOVASO message reaches middle schoolers

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By Tom Wilmoth

    After an award winning year of spreading the message, Liberty High School’s Youth of Virginia Speak Out club is reaching out even more.

    Last Thursday, members of the YOVASO club and its sponsors visited Bedford Middle School in an attempt to garner support for beginning a club there, too.
    “It’s a lot of work...it’s a lot of fun, too,” stated LHS sophomore Katie Martin to a group of BMS students during an assembly in the school’s auditorium. “We all enjoy doing things together.”
    The Liberty YOVASO club is hoping to match what students in the Forest Zone did last year, starting a club at Forest Middle School.
    “I’m a big competitor,” stated YOVASO club sponsor Krissy Alphin. She wants to see the Liberty Zone compete with its counterpart in Forest.
    The students at LHS did all the preparations for last week’s presentation; they hope it gets the middle school students energized to be a part of their own YOVASO club.
    That’s certainly true of the group at LHS.
    The school’s group was named YOVASO Club of the Year and the school’s new SRO, Deputy Daniel Clark, was named the New School Resource Officer of the Year. In addition, the New YOVASO Sponsor of the Year Award was given to Alphin.
    Martin and fellow sophomore Meg Tomlinson made the presentation to the BMS students.
    Using the theme “Take Action: Don’t Be a Distraction,” the two students went through the needs for the YOVASO program, noting the many influences that can cause accidents including speeding, distracted driving and alcohol use. They also stressed the importance of wearing seat belts.
    “You compete with other schools, it’s a lot of fun,” Tomlinson said of the campaigns that YOVASO sponsors throughout the school year.
    Clark encouraged the middle school students to get involved. “Go out and beat Forest,” he said of the competitions held statewide.
    Kathy Dills, assistant principal at LHS, told the middle school students that it was a chance for them to educate and encourage traffic safety both in the schools and the community.
    “You can be the voice of reason,” she told the middle schoolers at the assembly.
    Dills encouraged them to get involved. “We need leaders,” she said of the message that needs to be told. “Let’s show them the Liberty Zone is loud and proud.”
    The middle school already has sponsors who have stepped up to help lead the YOVASO group.
    The first YOVASO campaign at Liberty is scheduled for next week. The group there has about 40 members.