STAFFORD - Stafford Township’s Project Aware team invited administrators, staff and first responders from several other school districts in Ocean County to attend the Project Aware Workshop at the Stafford Township Arts Center (STAC) on Tuesday, July 31, 2018.

Project Aware is a heart wrenching student performance about a group of sixth-graders who first handedly encounter the awful truth behind drug and alcohol abuse. Project Aware has proven effective in Stafford Township schools for nearly 20 years, this year being the first to include Little Egg Harbor Township, Eagleswood Township and Tuckerton Borough. The growing project began as a collaborative effort from Southern Ocean Medical Center, Betti Anne McVey, the Stafford Municipal Alliance Director, Stafford Police D.A.R.E. Officers, Stafford EMS, and Stafford Intermediate School students and staff.

In anticipation of the next Project Aware performances in the 2018-2019 school year, the workshop is intended to encourage other school districts in Ocean County to introduce the program into their curriculum.

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Following a live student performance of Act I and a short video of Act II’s emergency room scene, D.A.R.E. officer Chris Fritz, Ken Rodenbaugh R.N., and Drama Teacher Caitlin Gioe spoke more on the logistics of Project Aware’s execution, the student debriefing session at the hospital, the importance of the student surveys, and how the survey results continue to warrant the need for this program year after year.

The goal of Project Aware is to expand its message beyond Stafford Township and reach as many students as possible to prevent the life threatening consequences of drug and alcohol abuse.

The workshop concluded with break out sessions, informal discussions and lunch donated by Fusaro Pizza and Pasta. Marybeth Weidenhof, Manager of the STAC, donated the use of the building to the Project Aware Workshop.