By: Ivania Zambrano Obando – Student of English – Universidad Técnica Nacional

On many occasions while I sat on the front porch of my house I would watch the children and teenagers having fun in the playground across the street. They seemed to play without rest; their faces were bright with smiles and their shouts filled the air with excitement.

During these moments I thought that if time never changed they would always be happy, always be filled with the massages of life. I knew, however, that it was impossible to stop the motion of time and my fears would turn me towards the visions of the street people, of the drug addicted, the alcoholics and the lost.

How many of these priceless children would end up as human trash? What could I do stop these inevitable horrors?

I have known very good families, with good parents and sufficient economic resources, yet, they lose children to addictions and self- destruction. If these families are vulnerable to tragedy, what chance does a poor or distraught family have?

We must communicate to the children directly. Educational programs must show what the dangers are. We must take children to rehabilitation centers and have interviews with the “lost” of society. We should take the misery of these lives and make them visible, understandable and a source of prevention.

I am not talking about brainwashing of terrifying kids, but showing, and educating them through films, real conversations with victims and survivors. Who better than they know the nightmares that are lived in the isolation and madness of addiction? We must give our youth choices, not blindness when they say “NO” to something; they should have strong reasons as to why.

Videos could be created and played on inexpensive laptops where students could interact with the decision making of animated characters. What to look for, how to handle situations, and alternatives which are healthy. The narration of these situational scenarios could be introduced and concluded by real individuals who know the danger signs of addictive and hopeless promises. There should be a series of these precautionary animations that cover a gamut of social dangers.

With creativity, reality-based programs, field trips, and animated computers, lessons could be engineered. Answers to student questions would come from a ground of truth. The insidious miasma “of street thinking”, liquor and drug propagandas, could be largely dispelled.