South East Neighborhood Transformation Team (SENTT)
The South East Neighborhood Transformation Team (SENTT) is a group of young people from the United Faith Christian Fellowship Church in Fresno. In 2015, they built a powerful campaign with the goal of changing the social norms in their communities, empowering young people to resist drugs and alcohol, and to make healthy choices.
The youth began by conducting research in their community, finding that their neighborhood had among the highest saturation rates of liquor stores in Fresno. Where other neighborhoods teem with cafés, restaurants, shops and grocery stores, the South East community is thick with convenience stores whose storefronts are plastered with liquor advertisements. The youth also found that there is a direct correlation between the density of alcohol outlets and crime rates.
In order to combat crime and reduce underage drinking, SENTT youth mounted a powerful media campaign to denormalize youth drinking, which included a series of billboards (see above), and held a townhall to educate their community. The campaign was highlighted on an ABC News special feature, Children First: Community Heroes. Their work led to a key policy win that reduced storefront advertisements from 33% to 15%. Youth Leader, Joseph, received the Central Valley’s Volunteer of the Year award for his leadership on the campaign, shared in this YLI blog post.