More than 20 years ago, Pembroke Rotary in West Wales drafted ideas for a new initiative in the area – and a drug awareness workshop was born.
Since then, Rotary members have organised for primary schools to engage in learning about the dangers of drugs.
The programme alerts Year 6 leavers, who are set to embark on the next step in their education, about the possible situations and scenarios in the future.
Peer pressure may be used as a gateway to the hazards of drug and alcohol abuse.
But now parents, teachers, and students have commented on how the drug awareness workshops are a worthwhile enterprise.
The use of these drama workshops to help children explore these issues in a safe and positive environment is a brilliant way to get that message across.”
Valero Energy is an oil refinery nearby who sponsor the package.
The Rotary club invites Theatr FForwm Cymru at Swansea Metropolitan University to visit the school, where actors present the workshop in a dramatised but entertaining way.
Public Affairs Manager at Valero Energy, Stephen Thornton, explained: “We are delighted to continue our support for these drug awareness workshops.
“The joint efforts put in by Pembroke Rotary members and Theatr Fforwm Cymru in educating our young children about what to expect in secondary school is incredibly important.
“The use of these drama workshops to help children explore these issues in a safe and positive environment is a brilliant way to get that message across.”
According to Mentor, the UK’s leading charity working to prevent alcohol and drug misuse amongst young people, the likelihood of pupils having ever taken drugs increases with age, from 11% of 11-year-olds to 37% of 15-year-olds.
Dennis Jones, who is a proud Rotary member, said: “Pembroke Rotary is very grateful to Valero for their ongoing support for this initiative in helping our young children navigate these issues at this age.
“We are helping them prepare for the future.
“With the ability of involving Theatr Fforwm Cymru and by having the willing cooperation of the schools, it makes this a delight to be able to organise year after year.”
The session is kick-started with ice-breaking games and activities to create a comfort zone, where the pupils get to explore the difference between healthy and unhealthy risk-taking.
Forum theatre style is used; a powerful tool for learning and changing behaviours, as it facilitates the sharing of personal reflections and experiences.
This works best as the audience can watch a scene which highlights risky behaviour by a protagonist.
After watching the scene, the pupils are able to see the action again and get to stop it when they have a good idea of a safer way of dealing with the risk.
They then come on stage and take over to display their good idea to the rest of the class.