Wednesday July 10, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition is designating the 2013 summer season as a "Summer Above the Influence" with the launch of its youth media campaign "ATI 802."

ATI 802, created by Brattleboro area students during the 2012-13 academic year, with the support of BAPC, features the faces and voices of local youth to send a powerful message to their peers -- stay above the influence of negative pressures to drink, do drugs or anything that goes against who you are in order to fit in. The launch of this positive message campaign is timed to reach youth during their summer break, when more free time and less adult supervision can increase the likelihood of exposure to dangers and substance use. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more teens start drinking and smoking cigarettes and marijuana in June and July than any other months of the year.

ATI 802 officially launched on the last day of the school year with posters featuring Brattleboro Union High School and Brattleboro Area Middle School students displayed in the high school lobby. The faces of BUHS students Ian Cebek, Cheicknia Doucoure, Nancy Young, Nina Goodhue and several students from the PEAK Program at BAMS are featured in the posters; each poster highlights the influences the student chooses to stay above and the activities that help keep them above the influence.

BUHS student volunteers distributed auto decal stickers with the message "Above the Influence of Driving Under the Influence," along with Tips for Driving Above the Influence, to all student drivers and faculty staff as they exited the school building for summer vacation.

Last week ATI 802 campaign posters, featuring the faces of local youth, debuted in the store windows of downtown Brattleboro businesses and remained on display through Gallery Walk and the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Store owners, some with no poster policies, recognized the importance of the campaign message and stepped up to support the students.

"BAPC is grateful to the businessowners of The Shoe Tree, Mystery on Main, Zephyr Designs, Burrows Specialized Sports, Vermont Artisan Designs, Brattleboro Cheese Shop & Café, Flat Street Pub, Barrows & Fisher Oil Co., Robert H. Gibson River Garden and the Boys and Girls Club of Brattleboro, for donating their prime display space to support the students and help keep them safe this summer," said Shannon Albritton, BAPC communications coordinator.

This week, ATI 802 students are scheduled to record public service announcements for radio broadcast. ATI 802 will be an active campaign in the WSESU schools as the students return from summer break.

"It is very exciting to see our local students featured in activities that support healthy choices and embracing the message of staying Above the Influence," said Ron Stahley, Windham Southeast Supervisory Union superintendent. "These students are role models in our schools and community. They are exhibiting the skills they have developed to work hard in school, getting along with others, goal setting, and becoming leaders. We are very proud of their work."

Above the Influence is a media campaign of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign conducted by the Office of National Drug Control Policy in collaboration with The Partnership at drugfree.org. to prevent drug abuse among teens in the United States; increase awareness of adults of the impact of drug abuse on young people; and encourage parents and other interested adults to discuss with young people the dangers of illegal drug use. ATI 802 is a localized version of the national Above the Influence campaign, created by students in the Brattleboro community and supported by the Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition, a non-profit organization with a mission of substance abuse prevention. For more information visit www.ATI802.com or contact the Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition 802-257-2175.