Monterey County – This year, young people in Prevention Youth Council (PYC) Friday Night Live (FNL) will launch a campaign to tackle underage drinking in Monterey County. Friday Night Live builds partnerships for positive and healthy youth development, engaging youth as active leaders and resources in their communities to create positive changes on essential issues that matter to them. Due in large part to changes in legislation and prevention efforts, there has been a 34.5% decline in the prevalence of drinking among 12 to 20-year-olds since 2004. Although rates are declining, 23% of high school students consumed alcohol in the last 30 days, and an additional 14% rode with a driver who had been drinking (CDC, 2022). Young people in Prevention Youth Council (PYC) are on a mission to ensure that underage drinking rates continue to decline.
There is a common misconception that all young people are participating in underage drinking. Misleading depictions of youth perpetuate this false narrative in film, television, and social media. Due to the saturation of these images and messages, many young people may feel isolated in their decision not to drink. The behaviors that a group, such as teens, believes to be acceptable are called social norms, and social norms have been proven to influence behavior. Youth in Friday Night Live will launch a multi-media initiative to counter negative stereotypes of youth’s relation to alcohol and promote positive social norms by highlighting the stories of their peers choosing healthy behaviors and remaining alcohol-free.
Monterey County residents should be proud to know that 81% of Monterey County youth have chosen not to drink alcohol within their community. Students will highlight these positive behaviors by creating posters, digital graphics, and public service announcements to encourage more young people across the county to participate in healthy life decisions. Students will permeate their campuses, neighborhoods, online platforms, and airwaves with their messages wherever young people congregate.
With support from the California Friday Night Live Partnership (CFNLP) and a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), students will utilize environmental prevention strategies through youth-led initiatives to educate their peers, neighbors, and local leaders on ways to reduce underage drinking.
Throughout the year-long campaign, youth in FNL will receive training on data collection, environmental prevention, the health risks of underage drinking, public speaking, creating public service announcements, and leadership development in a collection of valuable lifelong skills.
“Friday Night Live means a place where it’s safe to share some experiences you may feel you’ll be judged for. It’s the perfect place to feel belonged to, and at the same time learn about others, and possibly even find someone you relate to.”
-Andy, Soledad High School
“FNL has taught me many different things that I can use in my future life when it comes to leadership, working with others, and understanding different perspectives.”
-Alex, Soledad High School
“FNL is a very welcoming community that so easily becomes a safe space for people. The club and the people within it make it so fun and make you feel like you belong.”
-Melissa, Soledad High School
“I’ve learned to be a better, more interactive member in my community. I have learned to problem solve, and discuss certain topics with peers. I have also felt more welcome within my community, feeling able to come out and talk about any problems I may be dealing with.”
-Unknown, Gonzales High School
“FNL really connected me with my community. Events such as voter trainings, mock city council meetings, and guest speakers we get to listen to allowed me to address the problems in our community. Through FNL, I feel like a have a voice, and I also get to meet amazing people with the same passion for change that I have.”
-Unknown, Gonzales High School
Prevention Youth Council (PYC) members will join young people in forty-five chapters across California in this collaborative effort to reduce alcohol access for minors and mitigate the damages caused to communities by underage drinking. Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
For more information about Friday Night Live, visit fridaynightlive.org.