Hilton Parma Drug Intervention and Community Education received a stipend through the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to conduct a recent event on preventing underage drinking.
To help expand the message beyond the Hilton-Parma community, HPDICE reached out to Villa of Hope and high schools in Greece and Spencerport, inviting them to collaborate. Over 61 youth participated in the event.
Project Sticker Shock had 4,250 lime green warning stickers placed on alcohol products at participating retailers. The stickers remind customers that it is a crime to purchase, serve or provide alcohol to anyone younger than 21.
“Our retailers do a great job of carding purchasers,” said Stephanie Dawson, prevention coordinator at Villa of Hope. “This effort is meant to go a step further at keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors.”
In 2017, Monroe County’s youth risk behavior assessment reported 11% of youth had their first alcoholic drink before the age of 13, 15% engaged in binge drinking one or more times during the past month, and 27% had at least one alcoholic drink within the last month, where 40% were given the alcohol by someone else, 19% took it from home and 17% gave someone else money to buy it for them.
The prevention team that planned and coordinated the event at multiple locations included Dawson and Aimee Fedele from Villa of Hope, Jillian Peer from Hilton Central School District, Kate Zobkiw and Doug Hanson from Spencerport CSD, and Stephanie Rago from Greece CSD.
The following retailers participated in Project Sticker Shock: Tops Mount Read, Hilton and Spencerport; Dell’s Market & Deli; North Greece Grocery; Crosby’s Parma; and Island Cottage Road Mobil Station.
Youth, young adults and adults participating in the event included the Spencerport driver education class, service learning internship program, Villa of Hope, Hilton athletic director Mike Giruzzi, Hilton boys and girls lacrosse teams and Girl Scouts, Greece Superintendent Kathy Graupman, Athena High School Principal Dave Richardson, Athena varsity baseball, and the Greece varsity boys lacrosse team.
“It was a great event,” Rago said. “Both the kids and adults really enjoyed it.”
“With prom and graduation season upon us, it is imperative for parents to be aware of the increased risk of teen alcohol parties occurring and the potential dangers that accompany those alcohol-fueled gatherings,” Peer said. “Simply taking away the car keys does not solve all the problems related to underage drinking.”
Prevention coordinators discussed the dangers of underage drinking with their youth teams and how this campaign can benefit their communities.
“I am so excited to be partnering with these other schools.” said Laurie Polatas, HPDICE project coordinator. “Together, we are working to raise awareness that underage drinking is a crime and that there are legal consequences for providing alcohol to minors. We hope this event will highlight and encourage more partnerships between community organizations, youth, retail establishments, law enforcement and other community members to reduce underage drinking in our community.”
Visit hpdice.org for information on this community coalition.