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SkiScape returns to the slopes of HoliMont


Underage alcohol and drug abuse is affecting thousands of area students and their families, and is now the most serious public health threat facing adolescents in Western New York. While the spread of addiction may seem overwhelming, you can help by partnering with Kids Escaping Drugs and their annual SkiScape at HoliMont fundraiser on Tuesday, February 20, 2018.  Event organizer Suzanne DiMico encourages everyone to “Shred the Stigma of Addiction,” which is this year’s theme, by raising money and awareness to help adolescents and their families get on the road to recovery.

Kids Escaping Drugs was founded in Buffalo in 1987 to provide a treatment facility for chemically dependent adolescents (ages 12 to 20). KED built their first residential facility in 1990; prior to this time, there were no treatment facilities for adolescents in Western New York. Adolescents who suffered from addiction were either treated in an adult facility or not treated at all. Since then, KED has built two more residential facilities and added Academic and Resource Centers, which house classrooms, a gymnasium, and the program’s offices. According to DiMico, “We serve adolescents in all eight counties of Western New York, but we can accept [into our residential programs] a child from anywhere in New York State.”

While KED hosts other fundraisers throughout the region during the year, SkiScape is the only event that takes place in Cattaraugus County. According to DiMico, the event, which was started 20 years ago, included a race component but has now evolved to include a range of other activities. Participants can ski, snowboard, and take part in the basket raffles, contests, lift games and more. Individuals of all ages are invited to participate; the $75 registration fee includes breakfast, lunch, a lift pass and an event t-shirt. “Since HoliMont is a private club, this is a great chance for everyone - members and non-members - to ski or snowboard all day at this beautiful resort!” said DiMico.

This year, SkiScape specifically benefits KED’s Face2Face Program, which focuses on outreach and awareness in the community through peer-to-peer interactions in schools and in the workplaces. The educational program, which was started in 2008, involves students in recovery visiting area schools to share their stories and reach out to peers who may be in the earliest stages of experimentation. Face2Face also involves a workplace component in which parents of children in recovery can speak to other adults and professionals in the community. “Our goal is to saturate the area with information,” explained DiMico, “so that we can inform students and their families about the drug epidemic before substance abuse treatment is necessary.”

“Unfortunately, many don’t get the help they need because they feel trapped by the stigma of addiction,” said DiMico, “but the truth is that nearly everyone is affected by addiction, either personally or through friends or family.” With the importance of awareness in mind, participants are asked to dedicate their first run (either publicly or privately) to someone who lost his/her life to drug addiction or to celebrate someone in recovery. There will also be a Memory Wall, where participants can place notes and photos in memory of friends and family who have struggled with addiction.

There are lots of ways to get involved with SkiScape, whether you’d like to participate as a skier or a sponsor. Participants can register at http://www.501auctions.com/SkiScape and get their own participant page, where friends, family and colleagues can sponsor them. There are different levels of fundraising incentives, which include gift cards, water bottles, blankets and more. Last year’s SkiScape raised over $20,000 with nearly 200 participants! The website also has a Sponsorship page for businesses to support SkiScape at different levels.

SkiScape on-site registration is from 8:00-9:30am on Tuesday, February 20th and skiing/snowboarding takes place until 4:30pm, with lunch served between 12:30 and 2:00pm. For every $100 of support, KED can facilitate an Early Intervention for an at-risk student, and for every $250 of support, KED can bring a Face2Face panel presentation to a local school. Participate or donate to a skier today … because every dollar counts!