Local Parents Laud Benefits of AB Youth Coalition

When parents of ABSATF Youth Coalition members were asked what changes they had noticed in their sons and daughters, we found that the benefits of participating in the Youth Coalition went well beyond knowing the science of addiction.

The parents of a rising sophomore said, "He seems to recognize the power of working on a team to tackle a common problem among young people."

The Youth Coalition which is comprised of youth ages 14 to 18 who either live in or go to school in Allston-Brighton participates in many activities during the year that allow them to learn, teach, and engage in community activism. They collaborate with other youth coalitions across the city to perform shoulder taps, an awareness campaign regarding the legal limit and the consequences of supplying to minors. They have also banded with other coalitions to engage in state and city policymaking regarding alcohol advertising. In the community, the YC has led an Above the Influence project in line with the national campaign.

The sophomore’s mom added, "The [Above the Influence] poster project was very beneficial as it was a process that he saw go from a conversation, to planning, to designing, to seeing it published and distributed to businesses in the community – he even saw it on a billboard in Allston."

This year the YC created and led workshops to educate other youth on prescription drug and marijuana abuse as well as how to cope better with stress and peer pressure. All of these efforts required the students to learn the facts about drug use and other relevant topics as well as learn how to lead and facilitate activities and workshops.

Parents of a rising eighth grader who joined the YC last fall noted that the young lady who was once soft spoken now speaks with more conviction and is "much more comfortable in presenting information to her peers." They credit her leadership in the YC workshops as a catalyst for that change.

Several parents have also noticed that their children are comfortable presenting to groups. Parents of one of the three graduating seniors said, "The Youth Coalition gave her opportunities to push her social limits in a safe and comfortable environment," citing activities such as the Shoulder Tap program, in which the students must approach adults (with supervision close by) outside of package stores.

Many YC activities also address the important topic of peer pressure, both for coalition members and the youth they reach through activities.

The mom of a 16-year- old member said that he’s now knowledgeable about peer pressure and understands negative stress, information they know will be important for college and beyond.

One set of parents also noted that their daughter is "confident in who she is,” and is not swayed by others when making decisions. Another YC mom echoed those thoughts saying that her daughter, who has also just graduated, “has learned that she can be her own person and that she is perfect in no matter what she chooses to do in life."

ABSATF sends a warm congratulations to our graduating members of the Youth Coalition and looks forward to welcoming back our returning students in the fall!