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Stop Underage Drinking
African Youth Dreamers Empowerment Program Intl. (AYDEPI)
Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.
AYDEPI has brought together African/Black American communities in the Federal Way and Des Moines neighborhoods in Washington state to discuss sensitive topics that are often taboo and overlooked.
We administered a survey to 68 youth to better understand their relationship with underage drinking, and the access they have to alcohol in our community. After concluding the survey, we brought together community leaders and youth to discuss underage drinking. We had a panel of five people, including one AYDEPI youth member, two community youth leaders, one parent/community navigator, and our program manager. During the discussion, the panelists explored how underage drinking affects our communities, why youth drink, and what our community can do to prevent underage drinking. We were able to share the panel discussion with our community through our social media network.
How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?
Our community has been facing underage drinking and substance misuse issues for so long. As an organization, we noticed a rise in suicide and gang-related affiliation, and low enrollment in schools. At the center of these rising concerns was alcohol misuse, which later led to other issues, including mental health disorders.
What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?
- Reduce prevalence of underage drinking and other substances in community
- 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
- Create new resources/materials (e.g., publications, handouts, factsheets, videos, graphics) to support prevention of underage drinking and misuse of other substances
- Improve policy/legislation (e.g., reducing alcohol advertising to which youth are exposed; instituting, promoting, or increasing alcohol compliance checks; improving
- Encourage community and local businesses to implement measures to prevent underage drinking (e.g., restricting or decreasing sales of alcohol at community events; conducting responsible beverage service training)
- Engaging parents and youth in community discussions involving youth underage drinking
Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?
We included two local nonprofit organizations, Outta the Box and FuturePreneurs, local community peer leaders, and local youth ages 14–20 to disseminate our youth survey and create our panel discussion questions, videos, and promotional materials for our event. Our partnerships with other local nonprofits and our local students allowed us to bring together a diverse group of people to better reach our vulnerable students.
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 social media content (e.g., Facebook, Twitter)
Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?
Yes, we would have liked to host one additional event, but we had to cancel due to COVID-19. Our outreach efforts for our panel discussion were also affected by the pandemic. As a result of these challenges, we were forced to pivot and bring together a diverse team to reach our target audience and conduct a successful event.
What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?
- Needed additional resources to conduct activity
- Unforeseen difficulties when planning our activity
How did you overcome these challenges?
We had a couple of unforeseen expenses, such as video editing, that were higher than expected. We also faced low-quality video on our panel discussion due to our use of low-quality webcasting software. These experiences taught us what we need to do to improve future events, and it taught us to encourage our community to get involved to help positively impact our youth.
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
- Support new prevention policies, legislation, or social ordinances
- 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)