TOWNSHEND, Vt. – During the first weeks of December, West River Valley Thrives staff and members of Leland and Gray’s Above the Influence youth group donned masks and loaded up with hand sanitizer to do a modified version of its Bi-Annual Sticker Shock campaign.
ATI youth work to inspire people to make healthy choices through fun, engaging, and educational activities, with an emphasis on substance use prevention. Twice a year these students organize a Sticker Shock campaign. This activity is designed to deter adults from purchasing alcohol for minors. We partner with local businesses to have ATI students go into their stores and place stickers that contain information about the penalties and negative effects associated with distributing alcohol to minors. It also serves as a reminder that providing for minors is illegal and could result in up to $2,000 in fines and a two-year prison sentence.
This winter’s sticker shock looked liked none before. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, what is normally a large social activity became a small personal one. A team of one adult and one student met at the retailer closest to that student’s home, in an effort to reduce transportation barriers. While Covid-19 restrictions limited turnout, participating youth commented on how nice it was to “have something to do.”
During the event, students shared some compelling data from the 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey on underage drinking with store management, including the fact that 70% of Windham County highschoolers believe that it would be easy for them to get alcohol. This ease of access likely contributes to Windham County’s higher rates of youth alcohol use and binge drinking compared to the Vermont state average.
Thrives staff and Leland & Gray ATI youth would like to thank our partners River Bend Farm Market (Townshend), Harmonyville Store, Newfane Market, and D&K’s Jamaica Grocery for recognizing the need to remind adults about the ramifications of distributing alcohol to minors and for their continued support of our Sticker Shock campaign. As we head into the holiday season, this reminder is especially important to help keep our communities’ youth and young adults safe and healthy.