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Teens S.I.P. (Speak, Inspire, Produce) for Healthier Communities

Hosted by: Safe & Sound, Inc.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

Group discussion

According to the Spring 2018 Youth Behavior Risk Survey, which is administered annually to Milwaukee (Wisconsin) middle and high school students, 31 percent of high school students and 16 percent of middle school students admitted to binge drinking at least one time in the past 30 days. Since we work with area high school students, we also hear discussions about drinking multiple times per week and see many cases of drinking and driving in the community.

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

  • Educated youth and parents
  • Built community cohesiveness and support for our efforts
  • Created an opportunity to share resources and practices with other community stakeholders
  • Made making good health behavior choices fun and engaging
  • 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?

Event participants
  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk planning guides
  • Communities Talk toolkits
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How did your event make an impact on underage drinking in your community?

The 27th Street West Drug Free Coalition organized the panel for our event, “Teens S.I.P. (Speak, Inspire, Produce) for Healthier Communities.” The panel included local teens, an addiction research specialist, and an addiction counselor. They discussed topics such as the effects of alcohol on brain development, how alcohol can impact relationships, and the dangers associated with binge drinking. Parents, teens, and members of the local health department attended.

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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
  • Inexperience hosting Communities Talk activities
  • Two teen panelists did not attend as planned.
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How did you overcome these challenges?

Although two of our teen panelists did not attend, we looked to the audience for volunteers. One young person agreed to join the panel and shared their story, so we still had strong youth representation.

In the future, we plan to merge our Communities Talk event and prevention activities with our annual Teen Lock-in event. This year, we attempted to host the Town Hall Meeting a few hours before the Teen Lock-in and we noticed roughly 50 more students attended just the lock-in. Since our lock-in has already gained interest with students, we believe it would be a great plan to adjust the lock-in time and use the Communities Talk event as the kick-off activity.

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What are your next steps?

Presentation at event
  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Create a public education campaign to raise awareness and/or change behaviors around underage drinking (i.e., create PSAs and other promotional materials)

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