With there being much to celebrate in the month of May, from prom to graduation, the Frostburg Community Coalition campaigned to empower Frostburg parents to encourage their students to think twice about alcohol.
“Some young people may assume that it is okay to celebrate these milestones with alcohol – that is something that we are seeking to challenge in Frostburg,” says Lyndsey Baker, coordinator for the Frostburg Community Coalition.
In an effort to curtail underage drinking, the Coalition promoted a message deterring parents from providing alcohol to minors while encouraging them to talk with their children about alcohol and its associated risks. In one of two billboards hosted by the Coalition on National Highway, the Coalition shares the statistic that nearly three-quarters of teenagers turn to their parents for guidance regarding alcohol.
“We do not want parents to assume that their teens don’t value hearing about expectations regarding alcohol use, especially knowing that teenagers are seeking direction from their families,” Baker said. “Also, we want to dissuade parents from assuming that serving alcohol to minors at parties in their own homes decreases the risks for their teens.”
According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving program called “The Power of Parents: Talking with Teens about Alcohol,” several studies conducted nationwide show that kids who are permitted to consume alcohol within their homes drink more often and consume more alcohol outside of the home environment as well.
“Teens may assume that if it is OK to drink at home, it is a free pass to do so anywhere,” Baker said.
The Frostburg Community Coalition has utilized a multi-dimensional campaign approach to encourage teens and parents to consider healthier alternatives this prom and graduation season. In addition to the billboards, the Coalition has posted “Parents who Host Lose the Most” yard signs in the community regarding the legal implications of underage drinking.
The Coalition partnered with Mountain Ridge High School to encourage teens themselves to think of the potential dangers caused by underage drinking. Before this year’s prom, the Coalition helped sponsor the “Gator Car” event at Mountain Ridge. Fifty students were challenged to drive while wearing vision impairment goggles, with Resource Officer Cpl. J.M. Sites at their side. The goggles simulate the visual impairment caused by drinking.
The Coalition was a sponsor for the Mountain Ridge After Prom, providing incentives and giveaways to attendees. The Coalition also placed postcards in the graduation packets for MRHS seniors cautioning them about the dangers of an underage drinking citation.
“These seniors are getting ready to start their lives,” Baker said. “We don’t want them to have something like an underage possession of alcohol citation on their records to impede them in reaching their goals.”
The Frostburg Community Coalition includes partners from across the city of Frostburg to decrease the harms associated with high-risk drinking, specifically targeting the consumption of alcohol among youth aged 12 to 25. The group seeks to see a 10 percent decrease in consumption of alcohol by students at Mountain Ridge High School and a 10 percent reduction in binge drinking by the students at Frostburg State University. The Coalition formed with the support of the Maryland Strategic Prevention Framework grant with the assistance of the Allegany County Health Department, also a member of the Coalition.
The Frostburg Community Coalition meets monthly and has a growing membership of community leaders, business owners, parents and concerned citizens. For information, contact Lyndsey Baker, coordinator, at 301-687-4892 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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