Fundraiser Event at HoliMont Postponed
By Nicholas Pircio
Organizers of the annual Kids Escaping Drugs SkiScape have decided to postpone this year’s event, originally planned for Sunday, January 7th. A new date for the activities has yet to be announced. Reasons for the postponement include the anticipated arctic cold moving in for the weekend, and the excitement generated by the Buffalo Bills playoff appearance.
When the SkiScape arrives, it will find approximately 200 skiers descending the snow-covered slopes at HoliMont, and will be dedicated to people striving to fight the disease of addiction. Response to the call to take part has been good so far, with many loyal skiers who come back year after year. That’s according to Kids Escaping Drugs Director of Development Suzanne D’Amico, who said people really look forward to coming each year.
D’Amico said people come to HoliMont from nearly every county of Western New York. “This is our only event that we do in Cattaraugus County. We have lots of folks coming from Buffalo. Our biggest fundraiser raises about $8,000 comes from Williamsville. They will travel for this event.”
Each participant is being asked to dedicate their first run of the day to addiction recovery and awareness. Tribute boards will be available on site, and all proceeds from SkiScape will go directly to support Kids Escaping Drugs, based in Buffalo. D’Amico explains this is a 62-bed adolescent rehabilitation facility in West Seneca for those between the ages of 12 to 20. “We really hope we avoid children coming to our rehab in the first place. We really believe that education and outreach is the key to the success of stopping the epidemic.”
The money from SkiScape goes toward the Kids Escaping Drugs Face 2 Face Program. “Face 2 Face is an educational community outreach program that basically goes into schools, workplaces, and early intervention programs. We talk to adolescents and adults about the consequences of drug addiction.” D’Amico said this is a peer-to-peer program, where students can talk to fellow students. In the workplace, parents of adolescents involved in drug addiction can talk to one another.
D’Amico said the peer-to-peer approach allows for real life stories where families can go out to the community and hopefully help someone avoid the situation that they are in by telling their own story. “We typically target middle school and high school children and their families. We understand that a coach or a teacher, somebody who has a relationship with an adolescent, can identify someone who’s having a problem. We strive for community-based education and outreach, so we can connect with anyone who’s dealing with children.”
Face 2 Face also includes an early intervention program, which will identify at-risk youth. “So say I come into your workplace and want to do a Face 2 Face program to a group of adults, and have one of my parents talking you. Maybe you know of an adolescent who may be having an issue and is making bad choices. Their behavior has changed. If you suspect there is a problem, you can refer that adolescent to our free, no-cost early intervention program.”
The point of early intervention is to get that person onto the Kids Escaping Drugs campus, to meet with kids who are currently in rehab, so that they can hopefully change their behavior. The goal is for at-risk kids to never end up on campus with an addiction, according to D’Amico. “We want to give everyone as much information as possible, identify those at-risk youth, so that we can get to them before they have a full-blown addiction.”
The Kids Escaping Drugs office can be reached by calling 716-827-9462.