PERTH AMBOY — Youth leaders from Perth Amboy’s Youth Community Leadership Academy (YCLA) are hoping to curb underage drinking through an awareness program. YCLA members have been working with local alcohol retail outlets to inform them about the key role they play in helping to prevent access to alcohol by minors.
“Project Sticker Shock”, is a state-wide youth initiative funded by the NJ Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) through a federal grant made possible by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), to educate the public and change community attitudes about selling and serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.
Sticker Shock is designed to raise awareness about underage drinking and youth access to alcohol and to strengthen the laws against providing alcohol to a minor, according to Cathy Cardew, program coordinator. The program engages student volunteers who visit participating merchants to place brightly colored stickers on multi-packs of beer, wine coolers and other alcoholic products that appeal to underage drinkers.
The stickers and door signs spell out a strong reminder: “KEEP IT LEGAL! It’s ILLEGAL to buy alcohol for youth under age 21. The penalty is up to 6 Months Jail Time + $1,000 Fine”
The current Sticker Shock campaign kicked off during the holiday season and will continue through Memorial Day. Youth will also coordinate a town hall meeting in the spring, providing an opportunity for increased community awareness on the dangers of underage drinking; highlight the Sticker Shock campaign and share success stories on other efforts to prevent underage drinking. Town Hall participants will likely include youth, parents, community stakeholders, school staff, faith-based organizations, Municipal Alliance members, law enforcement, and officials from the municipal government.
Alcohol has been identified as the #1 drug of choice among youth and, according to youth responses to a local community survey, one of the easiest to get.
YCLA is offered at Perth Amboy High School through the School-Based Youth Services (SBYSP) and in partnership with NCADD of Middlesex County Inc. YCLA is an after-school program for Perth Amboy High School students that features a curriculum intended to educate and empower students to engage in civic process, so they can act as effective youth participant in community bodies that impact the revitalization of Perth Amboy. The program focuses on community issues important to teens.
For more information on how to implement programs designed to prevent underage drinking in your community, contact NCADD’s Coalition for Healthy Communities Underage Drinking Taskforce at www.ncadd-middlesex.org or call 1-732-254-3344.
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