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Event to encourage family togetherness

Unity in the Community logo

Poetry, drum circles and sculpture may not come to mind as a first line of defense against substance abuse, but Illinois State University’s School of Social Work is offering a day of fun activities in the hopes of laying the groundwork for substance-free lives for children. Unity in the Community will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Connie Link Amphitheatre in Normal, off Linden Street. The free event, co-sponsored by the Connie Link Amphitheatre, will include a series of interactive activities for all ages.

“Research shows that increasing young people’s social activities and family cohesion significantly decreases the chances that a child or adolescent will experiment with drugs and alcohol,” said Lily Anderson, a master’s candidate in the School of Social Work who helped organize the event. “This is a chance for families to find connections through activities that explore art, music, performance, sports, exercise and more.”

Local artists and businesses are helping bring the event to life. ComeTogetherStudio will offer print-making and sculpture demonstrations with interactive participation. ISU Publications Unit will host poetry writing with the opportunity to perform spoken word poetry with others. Music instructors will conduct a drum circle for families with instruments made from recycled materials.

“The drum circle will extend to a musical jam session for those who wish to participate. Spending time together with children can be as easy as making music from anything you have around the house,” said Anderson, noting the activities are meant to encourage continued family time.

Grey Dove Gallery will offer a Photography 101 class. All young people interested are encouraged to bring digital cameras.

Other Unity in the Community participants and donors include The Garden of Beadin, Read’s Sporting Goods, The Chess Café, which will provide chess boards; Bloomington Center for Performing Arts, Community Players and Four Seasons Fitness.

Prizes will be awarded at the end of the evening. Family social service providers will be available throughout the day. Families are encouraged to bring blankets and chairs to enjoy the activities on the stage.

Anderson believes the event will help families explore new avenues for substance abuse prevention. “It is important that we try to tackle the substance abuse before it becomes a problem,” she said. “We have seen many prevention approaches such as Just Say No for years with few real results. New designs need to be explored.”

The event is still accepting donors, who can contact Anderson at leande3@ilstu.edu.