PANDA Program Participants Honored

A local school program that helps kids stay out of trouble celebrated their success on Tuesday with a special breakfast.

The students involved in the youth leadership program PANDA gathered at the Holiday Inn in Boardman.

Thirteen area middle and high schools participate in the program.

The goal is to give kids and teens a chance to talk about pressures they have in school, such as bullying, self-esteem, drugs and alcohol.

PANDA programs were once funded by federal grants that were eliminated. The clubs are now sponsored by local businesses.

“You know what we are finding is that kids don’t have a lot of opportunities to just talk to other kids in a safe environment where they can be open and honest about some of the issues they are concerned about growing up,” said Meridian Community Care President and CEO Larry Moliterno. “It’s the same kind of issues that we all face.”

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