By SCOTT COTTOS

STAFF WRITER

The “good” youngsters are making themselves heard.

They make positive choices themselves and encourage others to do so, and through the present virtual reality, the “We Are The Majority Rally” will air its message from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Friday on the Ohio Channel, with American Sign Language interpreters provided.

The Fostoria Junior/Senior High School Youth to Youth club has attended the rally for the past several years on the lawn of the Statehouse in Columbus. The coronavirus pandemic put a kibosh on such an in-person event this year, but the ninth annual event will be hosted by the Prevention Action Alliance virtually at www.mjstream.tv/watmvr, on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube as part of National Prevention Week.

The Ohio Channel is a service of Ohio’s public broadcasting stations that combines Statehouse coverage with locally produced PBS programs.

The between 30 and 40 Fostoria Youth to Youth members are expected to be watching, with advisers Kim Fant-Cousin, a teacher and coach in Fostoria City Schools, and Ellen Groves, presentation specialist and consultant from Firelands Counseling and Recovery, also tuning in.

Groves hopes other youngsters, parents and grandparents will also watch.

“We’re finding out and the state’s finding out that the majority of kids are not using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, and they’re making good choices,” Groves said. “We always hear about the bad kids, the ones who are making bad choices. And we don’t give enough credit to the kids who are making good choices. That’s what we’re doing — we want to try to encourage them to make better choices and not go to alcohol, tobacco or other drugs, especially during this time when they don’t have that much to do.”

Jade Eilers, a junior from Centerville who has been named Miss Ohio High School America, will be the master of ceremonies. Pray for Sleep, a Columbus-based hard rock band, will perform, and speakers will include Mike Nicholson, founder of the M. Nicholson Hip-Hop Fitness Program, and Dublin Coffman junior Abby Collier, the winner of the first We Are the Majority Rally Speech Contest. Nicholson will also teach a few of the hip-hop dance moves.

“We’re trying to encourage any student to participate in this rally,” Groves said. “There’s going to be singing and dancing and all kinds of stuff.”

Groves said hopes for youth watching the rally are that “it will help them to get through some of these difficult times and it will encourage them to join a drug-free group when the school does open.”

She said Youth to Youth members have enjoyed a variety of projects and have been able to take advantage of being able to go on weeklong trips. The program has provided positive experiences for students and advisers alike.

“It’s so cool to work with these kids because you can see how they’ve benefited from some of these programs,” she said.

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