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Smash the Bottle

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

The Communities Talk activity we did was a public health campaign on alcohol. This campaign was created by youth in our community who were empowered and given the resources to create the campaign. We worked with the youth on this activity over a period of several weeks. Participating teens learned about the PA Youth Survey Results for their District, the West Chester Area School District. Looking over the survey results, teens determined the priority they believed most worth addressing. The youth were able to learn about and develop their skills in marketing and basic design to help them build their health campaign. The topic for this campaign was alcohol and the message was Smash the Bottle, not your Future. They submitted ideas for the Instagram campaign and worked with an area marketing/design professional to elevate their work to a professional level. That campaign was shared via Instagram and received over 120,000 views in their community and the surrounding areas.

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How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

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According to the PA Youth Survey completed by students in the West Chester Area School District, alcohol and other substances like vaping and marijuana are at high levels for the youth in this district. More detailed data can be found here: PA Youth Survey.

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Which prevention strategy(ies), as defined by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, best fit your Communities Talk activity?

  • Information Dissemination Strategy - focuses on improving awareness and knowledge of the effects of AOD issues on communities and families through “one-way” communication with the audience such as speaking engagements, health fairs, and distribution of print materials.
  • Education Strategy – focuses on “two-way” communication between the facilitator and participants and aims to improve life/social skills such as decision making, refusal skills, and critical analysis.
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What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Hold meetings or discussion groups on alcohol and/or other drug misuse prevention.
  • Start a youth-led coalition on alcohol and/or other drug misuse prevention.
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Did you accomplish your goal(s)?


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

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

We overcame these challenges of initially being unable to work with students through our public school system by working with a local community center to host a pilot project. From this pilot project at a local community center, we shared the results with the public school district. The public school district really saw value in this project and is now allowing us to work with students in public schools. We have a new project scheduled with them for Fall 2023.

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What are your next steps?

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  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • 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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If you’ve conducted Communities Talk activities in prior years, how has your repeated participation contributed to progress in achieving your prevention goals?

We have conducted Communities Talk activities before, and they have been instrumental in allowing us to reach varied sectors of our community. Most notably, they help us to stay in front of parents and youth with engaging presenters for parents and project-based opportunities for youth to educate themselves and their peers about the risks associated with underage substance use. 

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Organizations that conduct Communities Talk activities often involve other organizations in the planning and execution of events. Please indicate which type(s) of organizations you involved in your activity planning.

  • Faith-based based organizations
  • Secondary schools
  • Charitable organizations
  • State and local government agencies (e.g., public health departments)
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Which of the following best describes the primary audience(s) for your Communities Talk activity?

  • Youth
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How did you reach and engage your primary audience(s) to encourage them to participate in your activity?

To engage area youth, we went through counseling and guidance departments at all public and private schools in our area.

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

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  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • Communities Talk website
  • Communities Talk support staff

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