At 9:30am this Saturday, May 30th, a team of artists from the United Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Barbara County will paint an airplane beneath the control tower at the Santa Barbara Airport at Above All Aviation located at 1523 Cook Place. At 11:30, SafeLaunch will dedicate the wings of the plane to young people who died from addiction. With their names affixed beneath the wings of “DJ”, the SafeLaunch airplane, their lives give lift to an important mission.
In the coming months, SafeLaunch will fly DJ to six air shows, where young people and their families will learn about the people whose lives were cut short by addiction, pledge to abstain from alcohol and other drugs until their brains are fully developed, and paint their great futures on the airplane. “Helping youth soar to new heights through the arts and not the use of drugs is a program that fits within our mission,” says Boys and Girls Club CEO, Michael Baker.
Janet Rowse, co-founder of SafeLaunch and wife of Santa Barbara city councilmember Randy Rowse, believes that “when we mix kids with art and aviation, we inspire them to reach their highest potential.” SafeLaunch co-founder and pilot Ron Cuff explains that a safe, successful flight is a metaphor for a safe and successful life. “Every successful flight requires a flight plan with alternatives if bad weather or mechanical problems crop up. Life is the same way. Young people without a plan are likely to miss their destination,” he explains to the kids who participate in SafeLaunch programs.
The SafeLaunch message is clear. The adolescent brain is up to 600% more susceptible to addiction, and experimenting with drugs and alcohol is a risk that no person under 21 should ever take.