Judge marks milestone with program for teens

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News 12 at 11, September 5, 2007

EVANS, Ga.---Drugs, alcohol, sex and Internet predators; the world can be a frightening and tempting place for teenagers. But a Columbia County Magistrate Judge has dedicated the last year to using straight talk to teenagers and their parents to help keep teenagers out of trouble.

Judge Wade Padgett hosts Teenage Years 101. It's a program to spread a message of awareness to parents and teenagers across the C-S-R-A. And tonight (September 5) Judge Padgett delivered his message for the 20Th time. "It's real rewarding that people still care and still want to come out and see it."

It seems he never has trouble drawing a crowd, tonight more than three hundred parents and grandparents packed the pews at West Acres Baptist Church.

Grandparents Pat and Billy Becton were there, hoping to learn more about problems their seven grandchildren may face. "Kids today face a lot more temptations than they did when we were growing up." Says Billy Becton.

His wife, Pat, agrees. "You read about it and you realize it's not just in California, it's here in Columbia County."

Issues like Internet predators, pornography, sex and STD's, alcohol, drunk driving, drugs including marijuana, meth and prescription drugs.

Jennifer Thompson and her husband were on hand listening on behalf of their eight children. "You hope you've taught them the right things, but they have a lot of things they encounter, so it's tough." says Jennifer.

But there to help you, help yourself and your teenager, is a Judge with a message hip enough and important enough for everyone to hear. And Judge Padgett vows he'll keep going as long as people are listening. "You hope that there is maybe one or two kids that you can help make a better decision on a Friday or Saturday night that would forever change their lives. If you just reach one or two, you've done what you really set out to do."

As usual, Judge Padgett separates the parents and teenagers into two different groups. The teenagers will have their chance next Wednesday (September 12) at 7 o'clock at West Acres Baptist Church off of Gibbs Road.

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