Teens encouraged to take part in alcohol forum

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Fri., Nov. 30, 2012

The Glastonbury Youth Advisory Council (YAC) will be holding a community forum on the prevention of underage drinking on Dec. 12. While the YAC has held similar forums in the past, the members (students in grades 8 through 12) hope this forum will be more impactful, and reach more students.

The key speaker will be a recovering alcoholic who has gone through the Alcoholics Anonymous program, said YAC member and GHS junior David Friedlander. “He’ll be speaking about his experiences and how the program saved his life,” Friedlander said. “He experienced alcohol abuse during his teenage years that really impacted his life. He’s had the same types of experiences that we [teens] are today, so I think a lot of the kids will be able to relate to him, and the message will really get across.”

After the speaker, there will be a panel comprised of a Glastonbury police officer, a medical professional and YAC members. Friedlander said he hopes teens will use the opportunity to satisfy some of their curiosities about alcohol. “They can ask about things they are really wondering about but might be too afraid to ask among a group of friends [or other settings],” he said. “They can get those questions answered. These people have gone through the same things, and know what they would have thought at that age.”

A catered dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m. and the program begins at 6 p.m. at the Riverfront Community Center. The public is invited to attend, and Friedlander said there has been an extra effort to get more teens to come and take part, including more promotion of the event at Glastonbury High School.

The YAC is also working on a new website, to let people know about future forums and other events, as well as explaining the student group’s mission and other projects, which include QR code technology. “This way, we can actually direct messages to people we really want to take part,” Friedlander said.

To register for the forum, contact Emily Dickinson, substance abuse prevention coordinator, at emily.dickinson@glastonbury-ct.gov or 860-652-7531.

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