Be active in helping the youth of SODA


Be active in helping the youth of SODA

Submitted by Annette Butikofer,
SODA Sponsor 


The motto of Students Ok Without Drugs or Alcohol (SODA) is: “Be Active! Be Healthy! Be SODA.”  

Being a SODA member is simple for these kids; they have made a conscious choice to remain substance-free. Being healthy would be impossible if they chose to drink or experiment with drugs, and they have been taught about the dangers to their bodies if they make that poor choice. It’s being active that encompasses most of our goals for these kids. 

Members help with organized community service like hosting the Elgin Halloween Party for elementary students.  They also help the community with their own projects like caroling around the holidays and visiting at assisted-care facilities.  

Staying active in their communities is an important part of membership, but another crucial aspect of the organization is showing kids that being active having fun never needs to involve drugs or alcohol.  

The Youth Center is open almost every Saturday night as long as community members step up and volunteer to sponsor. Also, we have an organized activity at least once a month.  

This year we have played volleyball and dodge ball, gone bowling, had a holiday pizza party, gone ice-skating and skiing, and gone wild shopping.  We are even in the planning stages to visit Lost Island Water Park in Waterloo this summer and bring a few friends – like the 134 kids from the South Winneshiek group we helped to start a few years ago and the new fledgling substance-free groups that were started in our area this year by Helping Services of Northeast Iowa. 

Some of these activities involve students contributing money to go and some do not, but the whole point is to make sure that it is something that can be accessible to all kids and is something they might not have the opportunity to do without SODA.

It is the money from the upcoming SODA Basket Auction Benefit (see box) that makes it possible for the Valley Community Coalition to sponsor these amazing trips and activities.  

These opportunities make all the difference in making sure these kids know how to have real fun that does not involve risky behaviors during those important formative years.  Those volunteers, parents, and community members that help, donate, or bid at this auction make all the difference in the lives of these great kids!  

Please support this year’s auction on Tuesday, April 9, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and running until 7 p.m. in the Valley multipurpose room.  From the free TJ’s Pizza to the silent and live auctions it always proves to be a great night. 

Please contact the VCC at (563) 426-5599 or me, Annette Butikofer, at for more information, to donate, or to offer your help in other ways.

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