MONTPELIER -- Advocates dedicated to preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use travelled from across Vermont to spend April 30 at the Vermont State House to celebrate Prevention Day. The annual event was organized by Prevention Works! VT, a network of community coalitions from across Vermont that work to decrease the prevalence of tobacco use, drug use, underage drinking and high-risk drinking in Vermont, especially among youth and young adults.
Each year, Prevention Works! VT presents the Prevention Champion awards to recognize and celebrate the activity and achievements of those working in the field of substance abuse prevention. A Prevention Champion is someone who goes above and beyond in order to build healthy communities. These people help reduce risk factors for alcohol and drug abuse and build assets and protective factors for our youth and other community members.
This year, Prevention Works! VT presented the awards to seven recipients, including Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition’s Director Beth Shrader.
Beth Shrader, (Brattleboro/Westminster) is a Prevention Champion because of her leadership, tenacious attitude and caring spirit that has helped elevate her coalition to being one of the most successful coalitions in the state. Shrader’s work and willingness to share her expertise, strategies and publications have assisted other coalitions in Windham County and the rest of the state. Since 2004, Shrader has served as the director of the Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition (BAPC). Under her leadership, BAPC has been a pioneer in the prevention of Prescription Drug Abuse/Misuse and marijuana use.
Prevention Works! VT also honored two youth groups this year who promote the health, safety, and well-being of Vermonters, especially youth. They were recognized for their leadership in promoting prevention in their schools and community. Brattleboro Union High School’s Above the Influence Club, ATI 802, was one of two recipients.
ATI 802, Brattleboro’s Above the Influence Club (Brattleboro) has 60-plus members. They are supported by Brattleboro Union High School advisors Maryann Kinney and Linda Heimerdinger and by BAPC. ATI 802 represents a state of mind. It is about being yourself and not letting negative influences get to you -- Pressure to drink, do drugs, or anything else that goes against who you are. ATI 802 promoted smoke-free zones in downtown Brattleboro with spray-chalk sidewalk signs which is featured in a YouTube video and created a poster campaign featuring 10 students, each who made a personal statement of being "Above the Influence" of a substance or behavior and highlights the positive influences in their life. The poster campaign has been prominently displayed throughout BUHS and has been showcased in display windows of downtown Brattleboro businesses.