Contest invites taking ‘Healthie’ shot at $50

By: Mikaela Mallin

The members of the Cedar Falls Partners for Safe and Drug Free Schools Committee are kicking off their “It’s All About That Choice” social media campaign. The group of about 30 counselors, teachers, administrators and community members meets to address issues such as bullying, alcohol and drug use in Cedar Falls Schools. Senior Danielle Templeton, senior Rebecca Lyman and sophomore Madison Schulte act as student representatives for the committee.

Their most recent issue focuses on youth alcohol consumption. The latest Iowa Youth Survey reports that Cedar Falls High School is 6 percentage points higher than similarly-sized districts when it comes to youth alcohol use, based on answers to questions such as “How old were you (if ever) when you first drank (more than a few sips) of alcohol (beer, wine, or liquor)?” and “During the last 30 days, on how many days did you have five or more drinks of alcohol (glasses, bottles or cans of beer, glasses of wine, liquor, mixed drinks) in a row, that is within a couple of hours?” One example of a key survey result is that 71.6 percent of juniors said it is easy or very easy to obtain alcoholic beverages (beer, wine or liquor).

Templeton said, “We have noticed [these] statistics, and [they’re] something that concerns us, of course, as a problem here at CF.”

After these concerning statisitcs came in, the committee received a grant from the state as a part of safe school promotion in order to address such an increase in alcohol and substance abuse. In response, they’ve kick started their social media campaign, “It’s All About That Choice.”

“We decided to use a social media campaign [because it allows us to] talk to students on their level, through [something that] interests them. If we talk to students on a level they can’t relate to or in a way that doesn’t interest them, we’ll get nothing accomplished,” Templeton said.

The campaigned includes both a “Healthie” photo submission contest and a poster creation contest that jointly encourage Cedar Falls students grades six through 12 to make positive, healthy choices.

Templeton is especially passionate about the angle of this campaign because it focuses on those positive alternative choices instead of the negative ones. “A lot of times drug and alcohol prevention is focused on don’t do this, this is not a good idea or this is a bad choice. [This campaign] is really to promote what some of our students are already doing that’s positive and to say congratulations to students that are already making good choices rather than hitting them with the negative side of prevention.”

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