Members of the Healthy Choices Caring Communities Youth Advisory Council (YAC) accepted an invitation to speak May 17 during a meeting of the Governor’s Cabinet Opiate Action Team in Columbus.
The YAC members who attended presented general information on the YAC program, as well as specifics on how they utilize strategic planning to create and implement their group projects and community activities. Each step of the process was outlined during this presentation, including the data used to reach the group’s conclusions.
During this process, the group chose to focus on parent education about youth substance use and parents’ influence over the decisions their children make. The presentation included some local facts and information used to select this focus:
• Youth who have regular conversations with adults about dangers of substance use are 50 percent less likely to use.
• Fulton County data, gathered during a YAC school-based survey, showed that youth cared what parents thought about their decisions on substance use.
• Sixty-three percent of Fulton County students in grades 6-12 reported parents as the number one influence for decisions about substance use.
• Only seven percent of parents have ever spoken with their youth about the dangers of substance use.
The project focus developed into an idea for a public service announcement video aimed at parents, with the intention of encouraging them to talk to their kids about underage alcohol use. From start to finish, the entire group collaborated on the video, “Talk2Me,” which was then submitted into the Start Recording & Start Talking! video contest. It placed in the top 10, and can be viewed at the Talk2Me tab at www.HC3Partnership.org.
YAC reported that its media campaign worked to increase knowledge of the SPEAKOUT tip line for youth and adults, where underage drinking can be reported anonymously. The media campaign also encouraged networking through support from Healthy Choices Caring Communities (HC3) which maintains a parenting blog and hosts a variety of local community events.
Additionally, a partnership with the Fulton County Prosecutor’s’ Office will provide school spirit shirts to all sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in the county during the 2017-18 school year.
YAC’s presentation closed with the long-term goals for its large group video project:
• An eight percent increase in Fulton County youth, grades 9- 12, who report perceived parental disapproval of having one or two drinks of alcohol nearly every day. This was noted on the 2018 Fulton County Health Status Report.
• A two percent decrease in the number of Fulton County youth, grades 9-12, using alcohol within the past 30 days. It was reported on the 2022 Fulton County Health Status Report.
YAC speakers said that although these goals are an integral part of the long-term evaluation for a PSA, they also represent that YAC members use their influence to speak out about underage substance use. They said the students are committed to reducing underage substance use in Fulton County and creating a positive change in their communities.
HC3 is a Fulton County community coalition comprised of caring adults – law enforcement, faith-based community, schools, government officials, professionals, civic organizations, media, health care professionals, businesses, treatment professionals, youth, and parents. YAC consists of student representatives from Fulton County high schools whose focus is the prevention and reduction of underage substance use.
To learn more, visit HC3Partnership.org. HC3 meetings are held at noon on the second Tuesday of each month at the Fulton County Administration Building, 152 S. Fulton St., Wauseon, in the second floor conference room.
YAC hosts a yearly recruitment period in April and May for incoming freshmen, sophomores, and juniors for participation for the following school year. Visit the website or contact Beth Thomas at 419 337 0915 or by email at HC3Partnership@gmail.com with questions.