A public forum is planned to talk about curbing underage drinking.
“Teach Your Teen to Think, Not Drink” will be presented by the Juvenile Justice Council Sept. 26.
It will be from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Watseka Park District building.
JJC coordinator Barb King talked about the event at the Opioid Epidemic Focus Group at Gibson Area Hospital in Watseka Wednesday morning.
King said that the JJC is “promoting a communication campaign for parents and other community members to prevent them from giving kids the OK to drink.
“So we are going to have a town hall meeting,” she said. “The Tip the Scale Campaign is what has been created by the original grant money that we received. We do this because every two years there’s an Illinois Youth Survey that kids take all throughout the county. You take it in eighth, tenth and twelfth grade. The kids around here in the entire county have scored higher on underage binge drinking than the state average.
“At that point the state got in touch with us and said hey you need to investigate this. Is this true? Is it not true? And you need to do something about it if it is true.”
There are several banners and billboards that have been sent to all the schools in the county, she said. Those banners and billboards are part of the campaign that brings awareness to the problems of underage drinking.
“We’re about to morphe into our second grant, which is a Safe Communities Grant, where we will add tobacco, nicotine, vaping and marijuana use to the underage drinking. We’re going to promote that with a town hall meeting on the 26th of September. We’d like to see a lot of people there.
“There’s going to be an expert panel. We’re going to have questions and answers for parents who are wondering what’s going on,” she said.
The event will allow attendees to learn abut legal, social and health consequences of underage drug use, learn tips on how to spark a conversation about underage drug use with teens, and get resources to help them from area agencies. There will be some promotional giveaways, a drawing for a gift card and refreshments.
King said the group has a Facebook page that also has information about the JJC and it’s activities.