Dinner to benefit Red Cross program – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Dinner to benefit Red Cross program

A dinner to help raise funds for the Finger Lakes Youth Encouraging Responsibility (FLYER) program will be Jan. 13 at Club 86 in Geneva. A social hour will begin at 6:30 p.m.; the meal will be served at 7 p.m.

A silent auction and 50-50 will be held in conjunction with the event; dancing to the music of DJ Matt Tumbelekis will follow the meal.

FLYER is a peer education program set up to prepare youths to become sexually healthy adults. It helps them have a positive view of sexuality, provides information and skills to take care of their sexual health, and teaches them to help others find the same skills and information.

Erica Cooney-Connor, HWS director of summer operations, conferences and events, said, “Over the years, I have met many of the teens during the summer STAR/FLYER training on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus, and I have found the teens to be very energetic and engaged in the program.

“It is wonderful to see the local youth taking such an active, positive role in promoting healthy lifestyle choices. Three of my summer staff participated in the STAR/FLYER program while in high school — two 2 from DeSales and one from Geneva High. I believe the training they received helped develop them into strong leaders with the ability to communicate clearly and openly with their peers.”

Dale Wright, executive director of the local Red Cross chapter, recently said, “Funding has been cut significantly by the Bush administration, because it is not an abstinence-only focused program. We have had to cut our enrollment from 80 students to 25 … the conference cost $11,000 to hold with the education materials alone costing $5,000.

A federal grant and funding from the state Department of Health's AIDS Institute have provided training for high school students since 1993; the last 10 years, at a week-long seminar on the campus of Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

In addition to promoting abstinence, FLYER teaches ways to reduce the rates of spreading disease with risky behaviors; a dual-approach program has been shown to be more effective in helping youth make healthy choices.

Tickets to the FLYER dinner-dance are $25 each and are available through Erica Cooney-Connor at HWS, ext. 3103; or at the American Red Cross offices: 34 Seneca St., Geneva; or 83 W. Bayard St., Seneca Falls.

Cash donations or scholarships toward the $270 per youth cost may be sent to the Seneca Falls office, with a note on the memo line that the gift is for FLYER.