Buffalo Bills players sent a strong anti-drug message to kids in their support of the Kids Escaping Drugs (KED) Campaign Monday night at an autograph session at McKinley Mall.
"I was exposed to a lot of drug use growing up being where I'm from," said Bills running back Fred Jackson. "It's very evident who was on drugs and a lot of those people that I knew that were drug abusers didn't go very far in life; that was one of the things that motivated me to get somewhere in life and get to where I am today. Surround yourself with good people that you care about and trust. If you want to get somewhere in life, then you need to stay focused and stay away from drugs."
The earlier that kids hear the positive messages and learn about staying away from drugs, the better.
"Just get involved, whether it be sports, choir, drama club, glee club, whatever it may be, getting involved in church," said Bills safety/linebacker Bryan Scott. "Drugs tends to ruin people's lives and life is hard enough as it is."
With a $25 donation, fans received a souvenir limited edition Bills poster and autographs from Jackson, defensive ends Chris Kelsay and Aaron Maybin and Scott.
"We really appreciate the support of the Buffalo Bills and Verizon Wireless because the proceeds of this autograph signing will be going to the Face to Face program, which is our educational outreach program that goes into the schools to help the kids who are at the age where they are making difficult choices," said Patrica Barry, KED board president. "We want them to make the right decision and not go down the road of alcohol and substance abuse. Kid's Escaping Drugs are now in 56 schools so the money contributions that the Bills and VZW are helping us with is really helping us spread our message into all of those schools."
Kelsay and Maybin had some positive words of encouragement and advice to those that are trying to escape a life of drugs.
"First, surround your soul," said Kelsay. "For me, it was always about surrounding myself with teammates and close friends that were working for one common goal together. My faith is also very important to me, so my recommendation is to find a faith and believe strongly in it. This program is there for those who need it and it's truly a blessing for them. It's a new beginning and a new start, and the opportunity to put their burdens and bad relationships behind them to work towards a new life or new goal."
Maybin said, "I would say to kids to think about what it is that you want to do with your life and could you see somebody that is strung out on drugs being able to accomplish that goal? If the answer is "no", then you need to focus on what it is that your desires are, and not the things that could bring you down."
Barry said that the KED program stresses that kids should stay busy, whether it is the arts, sports or academics. Also, they say it is important for parents or guardians to be aware of where their kids are going and ask who their friends are on a daily basis and not assume that everything is fine.
The Buffalo Bills, Verizon Wireless and 97 Rock teamed up to support the Kids Escaping Drugs Campaign. The KED Campaign was created with the purpose of raising funds for the construction and support of adolescent drug & alcohol treatment facilities. The Kids Escaping Drugs Renaissance Campus is located in West Seneca, NY and consists of three buildings that house up to 62 chemically-dependent youths ages 12 to 20.
For more information on Kids Escaping Drugs, visit www.ked.org.