The C.O.R.E. Freshman Impact Fundraiser Dinner and Auction was held Thursday, Nov. 2, at 5:00 p.m., at the Hilton Garden Inn, 815 East Mall Drive in Rapid City to raise necessary funds for the Freshman Impact: Caught in the Moment program. To aid C.O.R.E. in reaching their funding goal of $42,500 for the growing program, the fundraising event featured an auction and a smoked brisket dinner with tickets of $40 as well as raffle tickets at $75 for an all-new 2018 Kawasaki KRF 800 side-by-side. 

The UTV being raffled at the event is the same as the vehicles used in Freshman Impact’s simulated impaired driving, seat-belt safety and texting-and-driving courses to reinforce safe driving practices. Freshman Impact is a drug and alcohol awareness program delivered by Community Organized Resources for Educating Our Youth (C.O.R.E.). Designed for young teens in their first year of high school, Freshman Impact tackles issues such as seat-belt safety and drunk driving with prevention education. Those interested in supporting the cause of this impactful, donation-fed organization are encouraged to visit the organization’s website at www.freshmanimpact.com

“This is such a unique and great program; it’s like a Hollywood movie. The number of people involved is astounding, and it’s making a huge difference in the community. I have never seen anything like it anywhere in the country,” says the newest C.O.R.E. board member and local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stuart Fromm of Black Hills Orthopedic & Spine Center. “Orthopedic surgeons,” says Dr. Fromm, “are generally thought of as ‘putting people back together.’” He explains, “The Freshman Impact program is all about saving lives and preventing injuries, and that’s what those in my profession should be trying to do. That’s why I got involved.”

First presented to 65 students in 2006, Freshman Impact now organizes 9 – 10 programs every fall and spring with over 30 high schools currently involved as well as presentations and educational activities offered at local community events. With programs in place throughout South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana, Freshman Impact continues to grow rapidly and looks to add programs in Nebraska in 2019. Upperclassmen, teachers, parents, fire departments, medical professionals, law enforcement officials and others make up the volunteer base for this expansive program. Freshman Impact has recently finished its fall season, and C.O.R.E. and volunteers are gearing up for a new series of sessions throughout the region this spring.

“As a deputy in Wall, South Dakota, I saw that alcohol was a big factor in rural communities,” says Rick McPherson, founder of Freshman Impact and retired Pennington County sheriff’s deputy. McPherson initially started a program to prevent teen drinking and drunk driving, and he says, “It’s evolved into a non-profit organization serving four states and making a lasting impression on high school freshman.”

On the long-term importance of the program, McPherson adds, “We have testimonials from high school exit interviews where students are asked what made an impression on them and, invariably, Freshman Impact is mentioned. It’s amazing how well it’s carried throughout their high school years.”

To learn more about C.O.R.E. and showing support for the cause, visit www.freshmanimpact.com.

See the full story by watching parts one and two of an interview with McPherson:

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