Art auction will benefit drug program for youths Stipends from proceeds to aid first-time offenders

October 04, 1998|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Organizers of the first "Art Show and Auction," scheduled Saturday in Westminster, are aiming to provide scholarships for young first-time drug offenders to enroll in Reality, an early intervention educational program.

Good Samaritan Inc., the sponsor, is a faith-based, nonprofit local group that raises funds to support other nonprofit organizations, such as Residents Against Drugs (RAD) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

"The Art Show and Auction will give grown-ups a change-of-pace night out and help prevent substance abuse among our youth," said Patrica Holbert, who will be hostess for the affair, which begins with a preview hour at 7 p.m.

The auction, presented by Heisman Fine Arts Gallery Inc. of Ardmore, Pa., will include oils, prints, lithographs, enamels, etchings, sculptures and serigraphs by national and international artists, Holbert said.

Most bids will start between $50 and $150, she said.

"It's planned as a fun way to support Reality, RAD and MADD," Holbert said. "We'll have live, light music before the auction and provide desserts and nonalcoholic refreshments."

The Reality program began in Tennessee about 17 years ago. Studies of more than 3,000 first-time juvenile offenders show a recidivism rate of less than 5 percent, Tennessee officials say.

The program came to the Eastern Shore two years ago and began operating this year in Carroll County. Early feedback on limited numbers of participants in Kent and Queen Anne's counties shows the same rate, authorities say.

The self-supporting program helps offenders ages 14 to 21 learn the effects of substance abuse.

In 10 hours spanning four Friday or Saturday nights, the young offenders are asked to plan their funerals, write their obituaries, watch movies showing paramedics working on accident victims and visit a hospital emergency room for a firsthand view of how drugs and alcohol affect substance abusers and their families.

Participants typically pay $95 to enroll in the four 2 1/2 -hour sessions. Proceeds from Saturday's auction will underwrite that fee so juvenile authorities can steer first-time offenders into the voluntary program.

Tickets for the auction at the Longwell Armory, 11 Longwell Ave., are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

Patrons can obtain six tickets in advance for $50.

Tickets and information: Kathleen Bassford, director of Good Samaritan, 410-751-9512; or Holbert, 410-857-1139.

Pub Date: 10/04/98

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