Youth leaders from Youth Leadership Institute were among hundreds of youth and adult allies celebrating the end of another successful year in environmental prevention this month—a committed effort to change the messages and settings of alcohol, tobacco, and drug use to make them less appealing to teens. YLI youth leaders from Washington High School Positive Peer Pressure (WPX3) are engaged in environmental prevention through their school-based campaigns and their partnership with the San Francisco Prevention Coalition.
“This year, I learned more about how teens and low-income families are targeted [by alcohol companies]. I didn’t know there were so many corner stores in low-income communities” – SF Prevention Coalition Youth Leader
The San Francisco Prevention Coalition is made up of 12 agencies across San Francisco working to prevent underage drinking and the impacts of alcohol in our neighborhoods. Among these agencies include Boys and Girls Clubs, Center for Open Recovery, Japanese Community Youth Council, Community Youth Center, Horizons Unlimited, South of Market Community Action Network, Asian American Recovery Services, OMI/Excelsior Beacon Center, Asian Youth Prevention Services, and the Vietnamese Youth Development Center. Since 2010, the Prevention Coalition has worked with over 1200 youth participating in environmental prevention efforts. Youth and adults from each organization meet monthly at the OMIE Beacon Center at James Denman Middle School to build community and mobilize around highlighting the impacts of alcohol outlet density in San Francisco.
In May, the SF Prevention Coalition presented to the San Francisco Youth Commission about the impacts of alcohol density, and asked for a resolution to be passed that highlights this issue. There are over 4665 alcohol outlets in San Francisco, and the coalition is committed to building a community that makes alcohol less accessible to youth. The Prevention Coalition is building upon the momentum of passing two resolutions last year to stop the sale of powdered alcohol in San Francisco, as well as limit the sale of alcohol by nontraditional retailers, such as fast food outlets.
“I will use my knowledge when people ask questions about the community or about underage drinking. And I will also tell them what is wrong with the alcohol ads that they see in their neighborhoods.” – San Francisco Prevention Coalition Youth Leader
At the Meet Up celebration, guests connected over food, live performances, raffle prizes, and community impact. Youth and adults from the Prevention Coalition collaborated to share the impact of their work to over 100 community members. Youth leaders from OMIE Beacon, JCYC, and YLI shared the results of their youth-led campaigns to shift the narrative regarding the perceptions and realities of underage drinking. One youth leader reflected on their experience by saying “I really enjoyed being able to make surveys for other students to take, and get actual input as to what students know or believe.”
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San Francisco Prevention Coalition is made possible through generous funding from the San Francisco Department of Public Health.