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Aug. 13, 2010


(LAREDO, Texas) - Seventy-five Laredo and Zapata youth returned home today from a Department of Justice (DOJ) sponsored and United States Attorney’s Office supported Drug Education For Youth (DEFY) summer camp, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today. 

DEFY is a preventive program sponsored by the DOJ and a means for increasing community participation and commitment to area youth. DEFY works with 9 to 12-year-olds and helps develop character, leadership and confidence to engage in positive healthy lifestyles as drug-free citizens. This year’s summer camp was held from Aug. 9-13 at the Naval Air Station in Corpus Christi, Texas.  Special thanks go to the Texas National Guard Counterdrug Program for coordinating and sponsoring the event and to the City of Laredo Parks and Recreation Department, Laredo Housing Authority, Laredo Police Department, South Texas Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Zapata Boys & Girls Club, Zapata Sheriff’s Office and the United States Border Patrol for providing mentors and other assistance.

The DEFY program included two phases. Phase I involves a five-day summer camp where students take part in activities including swimming, tours and classes in leadership, discipline and drug awareness. The expenses for this camp, including lodging and meals, were paid for by the Texas National Guard Drug Demand Reduction Program.   

After the summer camp, the students will begin Phase II of the program which involves monthly sessions in which the students meet on a given Saturday and attend activities reinforcing and building on their Phase I lessons. Activities during Phase II often include lessons or activities in drug resistance, self-esteem building, leadership and general social skills, team building and community service.  

Thanks again to the all the agencies and organizations who provided mentors for this DEFY summer camp. Mentors are not just expected to look after the youth but are to be positive role models to the DEFY students throughout the program. The Laredo DEFY program has been in existence since 2001 and has not only been successful with its students, but is a sign of collaborative efforts from all agencies and organizations who provided mentors.

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