Horsham West Primary School student Laticia Shanaughan to ride for ice awareness

ACE EFFORT: Laticia Shanaughan, 11, will join the ACE ride to raise money and awareness for the Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

ACE EFFORT: Laticia Shanaughan, 11, will join the ACE ride to raise money and awareness for the Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

HORSHAM West Primary School grade five student Laticia Shanaughan left a crystal methamphetamine forum in Horsham determined to act on what she had learnt.

The 11-year-old decided the most helpful way she could contribute was doing the inaugural Arapiles Cycling Event, or ACE ride.

The ride raises money for and awareness of the work of the Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce, which instigated the Horsham community ice forums.

Laticia has committed to the shortest of three routes, a 10-kilometre ride from Natimuk to Mt Arapiles via the Arapiles Big Sky Bicycle Trail.

Participants can also choose to undertake a 104-kilometre circuit from Horsham to Mt Arapiles and back, or a 56-kilometre journey from Horsham to Mt Arapiles.

"I learnt a lot at the forum. It was really interesting," Laticia said.

"I was really surprised the Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce wasn't funded."

She was also surprised by the age of the youngest person to access Grampians Community Health's counselling for crystal methamphetamine-related issues.

Speaking at the evening forum on July 23, taskforce co-ordinator and Grampians Community Health alcohol and other drugs counsellor Brendan Scale said the youngest person was 12, a year older than Laticia.

He welcomed Laticia's proactive response to the forum.

"It goes with the vision of the taskforce to encourage everyone to take action in some capacity," he said.

Laticia has already succeeded in spreading the word about the taskforce's work and the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs in the Wimmera.

Some of her peers have been inspired to join her on the ride on October 5.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, so it will be a family activity for Laticia and friends.

ACE EFFORT: Laticia Shanaughan, 11, will join the ACE ride to raise money and awareness for the Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

ACE EFFORT: Laticia Shanaughan, 11, will join the ACE ride to raise money and awareness for the Wimmera Drug Action Taskforce. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Horsham West and Haven Primary School principal Brendan Bush wrote about Laticia's campaign in the school's newsletter, encouraging more families to become involved.

"I will be supporting the event by attempting to ride the 56-kilometre route," he said.

Laticia's mother, Renae Shanaughan, said her family had thrown its support behind the event.

Those who are not riding alongside Laticia will be marshalling or encouraging from the sidelines.

Miss Shanaughan said Laticia had never ridden so far before, but was confident she was up to the challenge and would enjoy it.

"I'm just so proud of her, and the message she's passing on to her peers as well is incredible," she said.

Her daughter was among few pre-teens at the forum that night.

Miss Shanaughan said she felt Laticia was mature enough to attend and would benefit from the experience.

"I guess, as a parent, I've got two choices: to either stick my head in the sand or educate my daughter to make informed choices later on," she said.

"Just taking on the ACE ride, to me, has proved she was old enough to have attended the ice forum."

Laticia has arranged a free dress day at school on the last day of term to raise money for the ride.

Ride entry forms are available at both the school's Horsham West and Haven campuses and at Horsham Cyclery, 87 Wilson Street, Horsham.

People can also enter online at http://www.aceride.com.au.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop