The Warren Coalition welcomed approximately 175 people to the first annual Rock & Stroll event on May 11th, 2021. The event was held on the grounds of Warren County High School and was such a success it is now an annual event, with the upcoming second Rock & Stroll to be held on May 10th, 2022.  Developed to promote healthy living to elementary school students, Rock & Stroll is purposefully held during National Prevention Week, which is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Prevention Week focuses on preventing suicide and drug and alcohol use/misuse. Rock & Stroll helps to address that by educating children about how to handle their emotions, and about healthy choices regarding food and exercise. These are critical elements in promoting good health and preventing drug and alcohol use/misuse.

By far, the children’s favorite station was the Pitch Burst Machine, where they would throw a ball to try to drop a 12-inch water balloon onto organizer Ryan Cubbage. Before they could throw it, however, Ryan took the time to explain to the children that if they hold in their emotions, they can burst open like the water balloon. Other popular stations were chasing bubbles, which correlated to the children chasing their dreams, the balloon stomp where they were able to stomp out drugs by popping the balloon (and subsequently leave with a prize), and the ring toss where they received whatever drink upon which the ring landed. There were stations where children could learn about resilience and leave with a game or other gift to help reinforce what they learned, and a station where they put together a cardboard toolbox to keep all of the “tools” they received during Rock & Stroll. Every family left the event with lunch bags of healthy food, thanks in part to donations from Reaching Out Now and the Thermal Shelter of Front Royal.