Joseph W. Witt, Andrew Pecuch and Christopher LloydJoseph W. Witte (center), Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Foundation for Children, along with Andrew Pecuch (left), a volunteer speaker from C. Grant Brittingham Lodge No. 788, Woodside, discusses the importance of "Media Literacy" training with the seminar's initial speaker, Christopher Lloyd. Seated in the center is Thomas Budner, of Indiana Lodge No. 313.

More than 50 Masons from across the state who speak in lodges and to public groups about the prevention of drug and alcohol abuse among children received valuable input for their messages during a day-long Pennsylvania Masonic Foundation for Children Speakers' Seminar May 9 in Harrisburg.

The seminar opened with an information-packed presentation on "Media Literacy" by Christopher Lloyd, a high school media instructor. He has spoken nationwide, on Capitol Hill, and on network television about the impact of manipulative media messages. Using video clips, he demonstrated how commercials -- especially those for addictive products such as alcohol and tobacco -- are crafted to manipulate. He said that he teaches young people how commercials are constructed and how to "deconstruct" them logically to avoid being manipulated.

Sgt. and Bro. Glenn Young, of the New Sewickley Twp. Police Department, demonstrated a model of a talking robotics KID Car that he created and built. It not only is very popular among youngsters, it is a tremendous teaching tool for safety awareness and drug and alcohol prevention education.

Deborah McCoy, a consultant for the Pennsylvania Department of Education, brought the speakers up to date on the growth and effectiveness of the Student Assistance Program across the state. She also presented tips on public speaking.

In the closing segment, Officer Daniel Richmond of the Philadelphia Police Department, and Officer John Lyons of the Abington Twp. Police Department, respectively, defined the roles and successes of the D.A.R.E. and G.R.E.A.T. Programs and the importance of the support given by the Masons of Pennsylvania.