AUBURN, Mass. — Sheriff Lew Evangelidis paid a special return visit Friday to Julia Bancroft School to discuss the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse with fifth-graders as part of the Worcester County Sheriff's Face2Face program.
The program is an ongoing part of the Sheriff’s Substance Abuse Prevention and Education Initiative for Worcester County Schools. It uses cutting-edge technology and computer software to simulate the shocking effects substance abuse can have on a person’s appearance over time.
Though Evangelidis brought a modified version of the program for the younger students at Julia Bancroft, the presentation still stressed the stark reality and disastrous toll that drugs have taken on celebrities, showing the startling transformations in health, reputation and appearance that often go hand-in-hand with substance abuse and addiction.
"It was very well done. It hit home but was also very age appropriate." said Julia Bancroft principal Susan Lopez. The sheriff's straightforward presentation will have an impact on the students and drive home the dangers of drug-use, Lopez said.
"When I follow up with the students, I think I will find as I did last year that the shocked by what they saw, as they got to see the reality of what it is," she added.
The Face2Face Program was donated by individuals and businesses dedicated to the County’s youth. In the past year, Evangelidis has presented Face2Face to middle and high School students in Worcester, Leominster, Clinton, Leicester, Spencer, Sutton, Southbridge and Grafton.
"I think this program is something that every child in the United States should see," said Auburn Police Chief Andy Sluckis. "The sheriff did a great job presenting it. ... It was obvious that he captured the attention of all of the kids."
Sluckis continued, "I think that his presentation really hits home with the kids, especially how he uses before and after photographs as well as photographs of famous people and athletes that obviously resonated with the kids."