Dec 5, 2016
Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis returned to Swanson Rd. Intermediate School Monday morning, November 21, for some frank discussion with the 5th graders about drug and alcohol abuse. This is the second year that Evangelidis has brought his message to SWIS. Again, Evangelidis did a terrific job engaging the group of 9 and 10 year olds while discussing an admittedly difficult topic.
The Sheriff Office’s Face2Face program was created by Evangelidis, and is the only program of its kind in the country, according to Kimberly Roy, Director of External Affairs for the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Evangelidis has had plenty of practice at this; “We’ve presented to over 182,000 students at over 100 schools” he said before Monday’s presentation. “We do about one of these a week.” Most of the presentations are to middle and high school students around Worcester County.
While not graphic, the presentation was eye-opening, as much for some of the adults in the room as for the students. Evangelidis started with a bit of humor, telling students he could read minds. “Think of a question to ask me,” he told them. “Okay, I know what it is. And the answer is I am 6 feet 7 and a half inches tall” joked the towering sheriff.
“No one thinks they are going to go to prison” Evangelidis continued, as images from one of the prison cells at the Worcester County House of Corrections played on the screen behind him. He went on to explain how prisoners are stripped of many privileges, any items that could be used as weapons, and even toilet seats on the commodes in the cells. Then he brought out a prison uniform to show the students, letting some of them feel the stiff fabric. “These are not made for comfort. They are made to be durable. These are 100% polyester.”
Evangelidis said almost 90% of today’s inmates are incarcerated due to addiction issues, and he asked the students why they thought people would choose to get involved with drugs. The students’ responses made clear that they are not naive to society’s drug issues. “Stress,” answered one student. “Depression,” said another. “They think it’s cool, said a third.”
Evangelidis touched on a number of misconceptions about drug use, notably that there are no “safe drugs” like marijuana is sometimes called, because it is just a plant. “Cocaine, opium, those are made from natural ingredients, too” he told the students. “And lots of drugs are made with dangerous chemicals, or things are added to them that make them more dangerous.”
One segment of the presentation showed before and after photos of well-known celebrities who became involved with abusing drugs, such as Macaulay Culkin and Lindsay Lohan. Evangelidis also incorporated images of some of the inmates they have encountered over the years. The drastic changes in the appearances of these individuals drew gasps and surprise from the students.
“Addiction,” Evangelidis concluded, “can happen to any family. Life is about choices. Everyone eventually has to make a choice about whether to get involved with drugs and alcohol. We want you to make the right choice.”
Dec 5, 2016
From left, Assistant Principal Matthew Urquhart, Superintendent-Director Michael F. Fitzpatrick, Assistant Superintendent-Director/Principal Anthony Steele, and Sheriff Lew Evangelidis who was presented with a BVT Polo at the close of the presentation about drug awareness at Blackstone Valley Tech.
Posted Nov 30, 2016 at 6:21 PM
Updated Nov 30, 2016 at 8:40 PM
By Christian Yapor Daily News Staff
UPTON – To raise awareness of the effects drugs and alcohol have on the human body, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis gave his second Face2Face presentation in two years to the 1,200 students of Blackstone Valley Tech.
During the presentation Tuesday, Evangelidis taught students how to make responsible decisions if they are ever faced with drug or alcohol related incidences. By sharing stories from inmates, videos, photographs and news stories with the students, Evangelidis demonstrated the harm drugs and alcohol have on the lives of substance abusers and their families.
The Face2Face program, which has been running for five years, reaches out to students in Worcester County and beyond, including Springfield, Lowell, and New Bedford.
“It’s important for students to understand the impact of drugs and alcohol abuse,” said Vice Principal Matthew Urquhart. “We’re constantly trying to teach our students to be respectful, productive citizens, and teach them how to respond to different situations they may face after graduation.”
Usually the Face2Face Drug Awareness Program uses cameras and software to take photos of the students and alter them to demonstrate the effects drugs can have on skin, teeth, and hair over time. However, there were technical difficulties with the equipment during the Blackstone Valley Tech presentation. Students were also shown ‘before and after’ photos of people who struggle with addiction to demonstrate how drug use impacts their appearance as well as their health.
“We care about you, but that doesn’t matter if you don’t care about yourself,” said Superintendent-Director Dr. Michael Fitzpatrick at the end of the presentation.
Urquhart said the school will continue to bring the program back every two years to educate the student on substance abuse awareness.
“Our job is to prepare them for their post-tech life by giving them knowledge to know the effects of drug and alcohol abuse,” said Urquhart.
Nov 2, 2016
PRINCETON — Alongside many community partners, Worcester County Sheriff Lew Evangelidis announced the kickoff of the 2016 Sheriff ‘s Annual Winter Coat Drive for Worcester County recently while standing at the base of Wachusett Mountain earlier this month.
The sheriff ‘s coat drive is annual event that provides new or lightly used winter coats to families in need throughout Worcester County and is a collaborative effort between the Sheriff ‘s Office of Community Corrections, Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sheriff ‘s Association, Warmer Winters of Leominster, Rutland Women’s Knitting Club, Twin City Cleaners of Dudley and Independent Cleaners of Fitchburg.
Last year the Sheriff ‘s Winter Coat Drive provided over 3,000 new and lightly used winter jackets to families in need throughout Worcester County. Evangelidis said they are determined to surpass that number this year.
This year’s winter coat drive received a huge boost with a donation from Wachusett Mountain Ski Area of over 1,500 winter coats.
The Sheriff ‘s Coat Drive will be ongoing now through the end of November. Donations of new or lightly used winter jackets may be dropped off locally at Wachusett Mountain Ski Area, the Holden Senior Center, Oriol Healthcare, or scheduled for pickup by calling 508-796-2638.
Oct 25, 2016
The Community Advocate
Shrewsbury – The Worcester County Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association held its 1st Annual Healthy Harvest and Safety Symposium at the Shrewsbury Senior Center Oct. 13 to a full house.
The free events included talks and advice on Hidden Health and Safety Issues As You Age,” “The New Age of Medicine: Less Is More,” “The Amazing Benefits of Yoga,” and “The Wonder of Your Mind: Hypnosis for Pain Relief.”
Chick-fil-A of Westborough provided lunch for all guests.