By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Hudson – Living and enjoying a healthful, drug-free life is a strong message being conveyed to Hudson youths and will be demonstrated to all who attend the Youth Fest Saturday, Sept. 6, at Wood Park. The special event, sponsored by the Hudson Youth Substance Abuse Prevention (YSAP) Coalition, will feature youth bands, dance performances, and other positive examples of self-expression that contribute to healthy decision-making.
Performing bands and other local groups will top the entertainment portion of the festival, along with a variety of dance performances, interactive sports games, refreshments, and lots of surprises. Featured will be music lineups and dance performances featuring Hudson Public School students and community members.
Members of the YSAP Youth Work Group, coordinating and leading the event, include Hudson High students Vini Bulhoes, Leia Owen, Mikenna Doherty and Buren Andrews. They work cohesively with YSAP Coalition coordinators Katelyn Flaherty and Michael O”Brien, employees at JSI Research and Training Institute of Boston, and Board of Health Director Sam Wong.
To receive approval from the town to hold the event, Owen and Andrews wrote an event proposal and presented it to the Board of Selectmen in July. Andrews said he became interested in the workgroup because he witnessed people his age “whose lives were ruined or put on hold because of the use of drugs and alcohol.”
Many participating in the Youth Fest said music is a constructive, positive outlet that is a good alternative to destructive decisions and directly induces good choices, according to O”Brien, who was involved in the first Youth Fest held last year.
“Over 70 attended and we are looking forward to seeing new and returning attendees and increasing awareness of current substance abuse prevention efforts going on in the Hudson community,” he said.
Community leaders, students, teachers, parents, policemen and other concerned residents have joined the YSAP, sponsored by the Hudson Board of Health. The coalition was formed following Hudson's receipt of a three-year, $180,000 grant from the MetroWest Foundation.