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Pop Up Movie

Hosted by: Henrico Too Smart 2 Start Coalition

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

During COVID-19, we noticed that more families were watching movies together as something to do. To capitalize on this interest, we decided to host a fun pop-up movie showing of Raya and the Last Dragon. We advertised the movie start time as 6:30 p.m., and as people arrived, we casually shared information about our coalition and the resources we have for students and families. Once our attendees were settled, we aired an underage drinking prevention video before the official showing of our family-friendly movie. Our goal was to spark a conversation among families while still allowing them to have a fun evening out.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

Henrico County is challenged by a culture in which adults and parents host social gatherings that give youth easy access to alcohol (in 2016, a teacher’s assistant was arrested for hosting an event with high school students and providing alcohol). Additionally, in 2018, a PRIDE Survey conducted by our coalition showed that alcohol was the most-used substance by the county’s youth.

In 2019, the Henrico School Board and Henrico Police committed to a zero-tolerance policy of underage drinking. This policy was introduced as a result of reports that school staff may have encouraged drunk students to leave a school event to avoid getting into trouble, putting those students at risk for more harm instead of holding them accountable for their actions and keeping them safe.

Finally, Henrico County is awaiting the results of a 2021 High School Youth Survey to see a more recent snapshot of Henrico’s alcohol use by youth.

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What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Create an ongoing conversation about underage drinking and substance use prevention in the community
  • Foster collaboration between community stakeholders for continued underage drinking and substance use prevention activities
  • Awareness and enforcement of social host laws) to support prevention of underage drinking
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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

We worked with Henrico County Mental Health Prevention Services, Henrico County Recreation and Parks, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving in our activity planning, and we focused our activity on parents and youth.

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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • Prevention videos, such as College Drinking: Prevention Perspectives
  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk website
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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the original plan, which was to have a traditional town hall meeting and advertise it as such. As COVID-19 took more attention from our community, it compelled us to connect the conversation about underage drinking prevention to another event so it would attract more attention, and we provided a fun activity for community members.

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

  • Needed additional resources to conduct activity
  • Lack of interest from the community
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How did you overcome these challenges?

We overcame challenges by attaching the conversation to another event, and advertised the event via partners and past activity participants.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
  • Conduct research efforts to learn more about issues in our 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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