CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - The Drug Free Youth program is a program geared towards helping middle school students make smart life decisions.
It's sponsored by the Calcasieu Parish District Attorney's office, and today they held their annual DFY conference.
Wednesday's conference gave just over 600 middle school students a chance to experience firsthand what alcohol and drugs can do to your body. For many, the experience was something they'll never forget.
"The goal of this, today, this conference, is to bring this community together and to make these young folks realize that this age group, ages 10-14 or so, that they are a part in the community," said district attorney John DeRosier. "They have a responsibility, and the obligation, and also the ability to make this community a better place."
Students started the morning by listening to motivational speaker Aric Bostick. He encouraged students to follow their dreams. He also made it clear that no matter who you are, you are awesome.
"I had one mission today: to inspire these kids to live their dreams by letting go of their past and getting inspired for their future," said Bostick. "Focus on those goals every day, and then encourage everyone around them to do the same."
The students then played 'Minute to Win it' games while wearing drunken goggles to show them what being impaired does to your body. For DeRosier the games encourage several ideas.
"It instills within them the spirit of teamwork and the fact that we're all joined in this together," said DeRosier. "The games give them a common challenge by groups."
Students then took their turn behind the wheel. While wearing the goggles, many drove golf carts through a cone course.
"It was tough," said 7th grader Ty Thibodeaux. "I hit every cone. I mean, I would never want to drive drunk or anything."
And for Thibodeaux, the message was clear.
"It's not to cool to drink and drive, even if your friends are doing it," he said. "Just always know that you have someone to call, like your parents maybe."
DeRosier feels Wednesday's conference was a success.
"To listen to these kids coming out of this auditorium saying how awesome our speaker was, how awesome the program is, and how they feel regenerated, is absolutely amazing," said DeRosier.
The DFY conference is sponsored by the District Attorney's office and the Pathology Lab. The DFY program is offered at all middle schools in Calcasieu parish.