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Annual Drug House Odyssey set

By Staff | Mar 20, 2009

The Drug House Odyssey, a program that teaches children about the consequences of using drugs and alcohol, will revisit Cape Coral next week.
In the odyssey, children and their parents take a 50-minute interactive tour of the grounds at Cape Christian Fellowship. The tour follows a group of hypothetical high school students as they party, go to the emergency room, the morgue and a courtroom.
Keral Kronseder-Vogt, executive director of the Lee County Coalition for a Drug-Free Southwest Florida, said there are 260 volunteers and 35 participating organizations.
Law enforcement officers and medical professionals — from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Cape Coral Police Department, Fort Myers Police Department, Medical Examiner’s Office and more — volunteer to portray themselves in the odyssey, bringing a visceral perspective to the event.
“It will be tremendously motivating and so real. It is a chilling event and parents might like to take their kids through this in the evening,” said Kronseder-Vogt.
The odyssey for students will run from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday. There will only be one night for the public — from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday. Kronseder-Vogt said every slot is full and the coalition is expecting as many as 2,500 children.
This year, the focus will be on fifth-graders, she said. When it first started it catered to both fifth- and eighth-graders, but fifth-graders were unintentionally phased out as eighth-grade attendance increased.
“Up until now, we have focused on eighth grade and we are focusing on the younger kids now,” said Kronseder-Vogt. “So many fifth-grade teachers said, ‘We want this.'”
She said the odyssey is an opportunity for parents and children to talk about the effects of drugs and alcohol.
“It can really bring home the reality and opens conversations between parents and children,” Kronseder-Vogt said. “It will become a shared cultural history for fifth-grade kids.”
The Drug House Odyssey is located at Cape Christian Fellowship on 2110 Chiquita Blvd. S. For more information on the event, visit: www.drugfreeswfl.org.