Utica, NY (WIBX) - Johnson Park Center is kicking off its "Say No To Drugs Party" this evening from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Its taking place at the Youth Center in Cornhill located at 26 Johnson Park in Utica. Head of the non-profit group, Reverend, Dr. Maria Scates, says the aim is keep area kids active and raise awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

"And along with that, we're going to be having our Youth Voice initiative. They are young people between the ages of 9 to 12-years-old, who are learning how to speak up, be leaders and a positive role model. They're going to tell us their 5 reasons why they don't use drugs or participate in crime, violence or any illegal activity," said. Rev. Scates.

Those attending the event can expect the following activities:

  • Free Food & Free Activities such as Keys to Success, Craft & Coloring Contests.
  • Sports Activities such as Single Jump Rope, Track Race and the new Pogo Stick Contest.
  • Children will be able to play in JPC Bouncing House, along with other various games & activities. All 1st Place Winners will receive Olympic Medals or Prizes.
  • The Youth Voice Initiative & Johnson Park Apartments Program Participants will share their reasons why they do not use drugs or participate in any illegal activities.

Reverend Scates said, "And, the JPC Youth Voice, Program Participants and Staff will encourage the community to peace, love and unity and actively demonstrate that Positive Changes Continues to Happen in Cornhill and in the City of Utica." The Say No To Drugs Party is supported by the following organizations: The Oneida County Youth Bureau, the City of Utica Community Development Block Grant, the United Way for the Valley and Greater Utica Area, Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency, Columbia Place Associates, the Bank of Utica and JPC friends & supporters.