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Langley psychology students find creative ways to teach kids about addiction

Non-profits approaching Joseph and Tyrus for collaborations
Joseph Kurdziel and Tyrus Drozda, two psychology students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University have created and designed a deck of cards that teaches youth about addiction. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Two psychology students from Kwantlen Polytechnic University have created and designed a special deck of cards that teaches youth about addiction.

What started out as an outreach project idea for a class sparked the need for change for Joseph Kurdziel and Tyrus Drozda. The two students focused their work on the Boys and Girls Club of North Delta, a local branch of a national non-profit that promotes safe spaces and after-school activities for youth.

Now, Kurdziel and Drozda wish to expand the idea and are in contact with other organizations that have interest in the cards.

“Ironically, we met in class through cards, he does magic and I did magic. We wanted to do something creative so Tyrus suggested a deck of cards and we thought it was perfect,” said Kurdziel.

The deck is called “One More Time: a snapshot of addiction” and shines a light on four types of addiction common in youth: the spades represent vaping, clubs represent alcohol, hearts represent gaming, and diamonds represent drugs.

“When I was in high school, I always had a deck of cards on me. I saw everybody playing games in the cafeteria tables and I thought: that is a perfect instrument to not only teach kids about some pretty dense stuff, but to make it a little more enjoyable as well,” said Drozda.

The duo said the whole project took about a month to finish. With the mentoring of their instructor, Jocelyn Lymburner, they researched the topics and organized the information on the cards, which range from statistics to local resources for those who are struggling, such as phone numbers.

Kurdziel, who has been a part of the Boys and Girls Club and worked with the organization throughout his life, highlighted the importance of focusing on kids and teens.

“Addiction doesn’t just start young, it also doesn’t happen overnight,” he said.

“My big drive about this is my sister, who was addicted to meth and cocaine. She had a double lung transplant and now she has to live with that for the rest of her life. She started at 14 and was homeless at 15. If she had something like this, if the support was there, she may have been helped,” shared Drozda.

Another feature of the deck are the face-cards. The students picked out quotes from several different celebrities that have struggled with addiction to start the conversation about these topics and show that even those who have infinite resources can experience the same things as a regular person.

Drozda said they want for people, even if they’re not reading them, to be subconsciously learning.

“It’s bringing awareness to these addictions that are inherently things we don’t think about until it’s too late,” he said.

The feedback received from the non-profit surprised both students.

“It has now become a part of their group session, we’re blown away by that. I couldn’t be prouder, hopefully it goes to the other clubs and they pass it on,” said Kurdziel.

In total, three decks were made with the help of Drozda’s friend and mother, who oversaw the graphic design aspects. One of the sets was given to Lymburner, and Kurdziel and Drozda have been approached by an addiction centre in Vancouver that is interested in their project.


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