Park View Elementary School students had a few FRIENDS over Friday afternoon.
A group of about 50 students, ages 13 to 16, from Payson Junior and Senior High schools came to share an anti-drug message with a "less-worldly" group of 400 youngsters, ages 5 through 11.The older students formed a group called FRIENDS (Friendly Responsible Individuals Encouraging No Drugs or Substances) and have been performing at area schools since November.
"We feel like we are helping kids have a drug-free future, and our work has made us more aware of the problem," said one young performer.
FRIENDS members sang songs and acted out skits showing how negative cues from peers can make a young person feel alone and frustrated. Children with negative self-images are more likely to abuse substances, the performers said.
The program stressed treating friends well in order to build their self-esteem and finding constructive hobbies to make yourself happy, productive and proud.
Park View students enjoyed booing and hissing the villain in a skit, joining performers on stage and laughing at costumed, dancing FRIENDS who had faces painted on their stomachs or drawn onto sheets that covered them from their upstretched hands to their waists.