From nonprofits to township and county events, jumpstarting pre-existing programs or initiatives hasn’t been easy. But more and more are returning as time goes on, including one topic again getting attention in Burlington County this month.
Cinnaminson High School teacher Anthony Faltz has been the supervisor of the school’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club (SADD) for six years, helping educate students in the district about the importance of living drug- and alcohol-free lives.
This month, SADD, along with members of the Cinnaminson Municipal Alliance, will once again participate in an annual event to highlight the dangers of underage drinking while reminding adults they should not provide alcohol to minors.
“Our mission here at the school, not only for our students but also for the community as a whole, is to empower students to make better decisions when it comes to drugs, alcohol and at-risk behaviors … “ Faltz said. “It’s something that’s always been an issue.”
The high school’s SADD Club is partnering with Prevention Plus of Burlington County to go to a local liquor store this month and place stickers that emphasize fines and punishments for adults who buy alcohol for minors. Faltz said he hopes the event, called Sticker Shock, will remind adults of the dangers in underage drinking.
Funded through grants made available to the Cinnaminson Municipal Alliance, students are taking time out of school to help raise awareness. The event, according to township official, is one of numerous events that the CMA participates in and helps fund throughout the year that are aimed at promoting a drug and alcohol-free lifestyle for high school students.
“Students are aware of what influences their peers and what they might participate in, but sometimes parents aren’t the most knowledgeable and they need their own reminder,” Faltz explained. “Because kids are purchasing alcohol themselves, it’s coming from an adult, and we want to reach the adults that are doing this to minimize the risk for students.”
Prevention Plus has hosted similar events with numerous schools in recent years, also partnering with police departments to help raise awareness.
“It’s really important to have the students come out and show their peers what kind of role models they are and that all teens aren’t interested in drinking,” said Kayla Kilpatrick, an educator with Prevention Plus. “But it’s equally important for parents to realize the effects that buying alcohol for minors can have, with all that it encompasses.”
Kilpatrick said the county wants to expand its presence and awareness on the issue going forward. According to Samantha Maritne, regional coalition coordinator and also an educator with Prevention Plus, continues to look for additional partners and interested groups or organizations in the county to help spread awareness.
“We collaborate with plenty of our community partners and we are always looking for more to partner with so the communities around us can spread a message that’s so important,” she noted.