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Prosecutor, Sheriff#039;s Office showing #039;Pride#039;

Drug busts often yield more than just a stash of pills or pot; often, law enforcement officials find cash when they arrest suspected drug peddlers.

The law allows money and other confiscated items to be kept by law enforcement and judicial agencies. Now, some of the money collected in Lawrence County will go to a program aimed at preventing drug abuse among young people.

The Lawrence County Sheriff's Office and the Lawrence County Prosecutor's Office have each donated $250 to the Lawrence County Pride Team.

The money will be used to fund the annual Pride Leadership Camp in Jackson.

The camp pairs at-risk students in grades 4-8 with some of the leaders in their schools, with the idea of promoting good habits and friendship.

"This money will go to reward kids for making good decisions," said Kelly Piepenbrink, social worker for Chesapeake schools and a team sponsor. 'We want to encourage our kids to continue to make good choices and live a drug, alcohol, tobacco and violence-free lifestyle."

The $500 will help pay for three youngsters to attend the camp. Pride Team members act as mentors for the week-long event, and encourage those at-risk students to be aware that the choices they make now will almost certainly affect their future.

For the most part, the camp is funded each year by area school districts, as is the Pride Team. Pride Team members spend anywhere from 1,200-1,500 hours each year preparing for and participating in various activities.

There are 28 Pride Team members this year. Next year that figure will balloon to 80, so more students have a chance to participate in and benefit from the program.

"It's a good program and that's why we're supporting it," Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton said. "In tough times, these donations are very important to the Pride Team and what they can accomplish. I encourage area businesses, organizations and individuals to donate."

Donations are tax-deductible.

The camp this year is scheduled for May 30-June 3 at Canter's Caves.