Armed with colorful paint and brushes, Flights Above Addiction gives children the opportunity to get creative with a small plane and inspires them to think about where they want to go. SafeLaunch Co-Founder Ron Cuff, the plane’s owner and pilot, tells them, “A great flight is like a great life- both take planning and a clear head.” Before painting “DJ”, the children and their parents learn about addiction risk and sign the SafeLaunch Pledge, which offers 11 healthy action steps that families can take.
We feel honored to have been invited back for the 3rd time to Santa Ynez Airport Day to bring our proactive health message to young families. Based on current brain studies, preventing and delaying the first use of drugs and alcohol prevents substance use disorders, addiction, and often tragedy.
SafeLaunch returns to Santa Ynez Airport Day with a Crazy Pilot, Paint and a Message on Saturday, May 21
Pilots and future pilots attending last year’s Santa Ynez Airport Day were stunned to see one pilot encourage kids to paint bright images all over his airplane! This Saturday, May 21 from 10am-3pm, he’ll be back.
Almost every pilot who witnessed the throng of enthusiastic kids painting the white Cessna Skylane last year thought that he must be crazy. He may well be, but there is a mission and a method to his madness. It’s called SafeLaunch and it is the name of the nonprofit Ron Cuff co-founded with Janet Rowse, wife of Santa Barbara City Councilmember Randy Rowse.
SafeLaunch, the name that implies launching kids safely into adulthood without the burden of addiction was derived from the thousands of safe launches from aircraft carriers that Commander Cuff witnessed and participated in while serving as a Naval Aviator.
SafeLaunch is the nation’s one and only nonprofit of its kind, 100% dedicated to primary prevention. According to Cuff, “Parents need to know that addiction affects over 23 million Americans and that 90% of it starts in the teen years.” Janet Rowse emphasizes the scientifically-proven vulnerability of teens’ developing brains– “This brain disease is almost 100% preventable, so it isn’t good enough to hope that your child will make a good decision whenever an opportunity presents itself,” she says. “Parents need information and tools to protect their children’s developing brains and futures, which is what SafeLaunch provides”.
Regardless of the “crazy pilot” moniker, Cuff can’t be dissuaded. “Hey, I’ve got a blank canvas that flies, and we tell kids that painting a life free from addiction is the way to go. All they need is a destination, a flight plan and a clear head.”
The weather broke just in time for a glorious day of plein air plane painting for kids at the Fullerton Airport Day 2016. The organizers of the event were generous and helpful, the kids enthusiastic, and the air and ground activities entertaining!