Pledge Project Targets Underage Drinking Local Youth Kickoff Campaign to Educate Parents and the Public

By: 
TR Staff
Staff Writer

Special to Times-Record
(Valley City, N.D.) – Youth leaders from Valley City Junior and Senior High School and City-County Health District, working together to create a safer, healthier community, want to combat Barnes County’s persistent issues with underage drinking.
Alcohol has been identified as the #1 drug of choice among youth, and according to our youth, one of the easiest to get. The Peer Facilitators and Junior High Student Council are joining forces to kick off the “Not in my House” campaign, a youth initiative underwritten by City-County Health District and the North Dakota Partnership for Success grant, to educate the public and change attitudes about providing alcohol (or a place to drink it) to anyone under 21.
Student leaders from Valley City Junior and Senior High School will be working with their group advisors, Mona Tottingham, school and career counselor, and Summer Burchill, school counselor, to implement the “Not in my House” campaign. The campaign was created by the Region 6 North Dakota Partnership grantees from Barnes, Stutsman, Wells, Foster and LaMoure counties, and will be implemented by youth-driven groups from each community.
“The ‘Not in my House’ campaign was created to reduce social access to alcohol by youth. Over 42% of students in our region report having received the last alcohol they drank from someone who gave it to them (ND PFS Youth Survey – Region 6, 2018). We’d like to activate youth leaders by giving them the opportunity to mold their own environment to thrive in,” said Katie Beyer, campaign collaborator and prevention specialist at City-County Health District.
Student leaders from the Peer Facilitator group hosted a booth at parent-teacher conferences at which they collected 84 parent pledges. The Peer Facilitators will soon deliver yard signs to parents who agreed to display them in front of their homes. The yard signs serve as a visual representation of the pledge a parent has taken to provide a safe environment for teens, free of alcohol and other drugs.
Valley City Police Chief Phil Hatcher was one of the first to sign the parent pledge at parent teacher conferences. “I believe that prevention education begins at home, by parental examples and guidelines. We strive to provide a safe and fun atmosphere in our home for our kids and their friends,” said Hatcher. “I signed the Pledge because I think our community can work together to stop underage drinking one house at a time.”
“The yard signs signal that a home is safe for teens—they let other parents know they don’t have to worry about their child spending time (here),” said Tottingham. “Parents were excited to see teens running a table where they were asking adults to sign a pledge not to contribute to underage drinking. Many thanked the Peers for the awareness lesson,” Tottingham added.
The public can learn more about the campaign and underage drinking prevention by visiting prevention.nd.gov/notinmyhouse or by finding ‘Not in my House ND’ on Facebook and Instagram.

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