Jonesboro Arkansas. “The City of Jonesboro, Craighead County, Arkansas, is one of the best family communities in the United States and our industrial community includes plants of major U.S. firms, such as, Nestlé, Post Cereals, Riceland Foods ….However, like every community we suffer from our share of drug abuse and addiction problems. Therefore, we intend to do what we can through positive educational programs, networking and leadership to insure that our communities stay strong and healthy. With a more open presence, we can attain a better understanding about the illness of chemical addiction in order to address these problems which have caused so much destruction and collateral damage to everybody.” ~ Skip Mooney, Jr. (2008)
Out of the Dark and Into the Light. Out of the Dark is a community volunteer movement that started in 2008 after several people in Jonesboro, Arkansas, felt the need to address the horrible impact that chemical addiction was having in their community. Out of the Dark Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that was established in September of 2008 to address these issues in their community.
The Out of the Dark movement began as a community response to special guest editorial, “COMMUNITY SHOULD JOIN TOGETHER IN WAR ON DRUGS” that was published in The Sun on July 18, 2008. The editorial was a call for public action to address local drug addiction issues after it had been reported that five (5) young adults had been hospitalized for heroin overdoses in Jonesboro. The public response was overwhelming and a town hall meeting
was organized to publicly discuss the extent of the narcotic abuse and addiction problems in the community. Over 200 people attended the meeting and 86 people initially volunteered to serve on committees to investigate the problem. The committees were charged with identifying the impact that drug abuse and addiction were having in the community sectors and how to stop the collateral damage being caused.
After several committees reported that the problems were out of control in all sectors, but solvable, Out of the Dark Inc., was established in September of 2008 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The basic idea was for people to take back their own neighborhoods through local sweat equity and financial contributions by uniting the community and to networking the existing local services through the “Local Level Up” community model. Since then the directorship as grown from three (3) to seventeen (17) positions with a countywide coalition involving hundreds of people that make up a cross section of the communities in Craighead County. The organization has been proactive in addressing local drug issues, including the start of the Out of the Dark School Chapter prevention program that now involves seventeen (17) school chapters in the eight (8) public school districts in the county. The slogan of the organization is Out of the Dark and into the Light.
Special thanks to The Jonesboro Sun’s editor-in-chief, Roy Ockert, for publishing the special guest editorial that started this community movement now know as the Out of the Dark Movement.