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Coalicion de Esperanza Town Hall Meeting on Youth Substance Use

Hosted by: Hope For Miami

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

There are not many ways for youth to keep busy in our rural community. Unfortunately, there is a strong belief in “rite of passage” when it comes to underage drinking, and parents frequently host parties and not only allow underage drinking at them, but supply youth with alcohol. Graduation parties are the most concerning regarding youth having access to alcohol.

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How did a Communities Talk event help you address those issues?

  • Mobilized coalition members or other stakeholders
  • Educated youth and parents
  • Built community cohesiveness and support for our efforts
  • Raised awareness of substance abuse and/or underage drinking issues in our community
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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
  • Communities Talk social media content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

This event opened the eyes of many members in our community around alcohol use and underage drinking. Following our event, we overheard a group of youth attendees talking about how they didn't realize that underage drinking was so bad for them. From causing brain damage to legal issues, the youth weren’t aware of all the consequences that they could face if they chose to drink underage. Additionally, some parents who attended our event didn't know that they were violating the social hosting law by allowing youth to drink alcohol at their parties.

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What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • Lack of interest from the community
  • Lack of awareness of our event or organization
  • Lack of interest from the community
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How did you overcome these challenges?

In the early planning stages of our event, we had no interest from the community to attend. However, we partnered with the school PTA and they helped spread the word to get parents interested and required 6th through 12th grade classes to attend. A week after hosting the event, we were contacted by a neighboring town who wanted to host a similar event.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Create new action groups to tackle specific issues raised during our Communities Talk activity
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Conduct research efforts to learn more about issues in our community

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