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Virginia ABC Launches Middle School Initiative to Stop Underage Drug and Alcohol Use

April 17, 2015

News Release Contact:

Kathleen Shaw - (804) 213-4640
Email: kathleen.shaw@abc.virginia.gov

Virginia ABC Launches Middle School Initiative to Stop Underage Drug and Alcohol Use

  • BOLT sessions deliver alcohol abuse prevention message to middle school audiences via high school mentors.
  • BOLT sessions are FREE and open to students and parents.
  • BOLT sessions will be held at Virginia Wesleyan College April 25 and Camp Roanoke May 2.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will bring its message of drug and alcohol abuse prevention to a middle school audience this spring with two regional events:  in Virginia Beach on Saturday, April 25, and in Roanoke on Saturday, May 2. Being Outstanding Leaders Together (BOLT) against Drugs and Alcohol is a series of one-day events hosted by community coalitions through a partnership with Virginia ABC’s Education and Prevention Section.

High school students who have attended ABC’s Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Program (YADAPP) worked with the community coalitions in each locality to create the programs and will serve as mentors to their younger peers.  Both of the events are FREE and open to young people and their parents.

The educational objectives of the BOLT program include:

  • To discuss the detrimental effects of alcohol on the body and brain, and how underage drinking can reduce academic performance and result in legal consequences.
  • To provide an opportunity for peer leadership.
  • To help young people understand the role peer pressure plays in underage drinking decisions, as well as the role that alcohol and drugs play in relationships, suicide and violence.

The Virginia ABC Education and Prevention Section is dedicated to providing education and prevention through Virginians’ lifespans. “One of ABC’s most important roles in the community is spreading the message of prevention to youth,” said Katie Weaks, Virginia ABC education and prevention manager. “BOLT allows us to speak to a middle-school audience and get that message to kids very early on, which is critical, especially in light of recent statistics.” Weaks pointed out that almost 20 percent of 14-year-olds say they've been drunk at least once, according to a U.S. Surgeon General report. Another study, by RAND Health, found that three-quarters of seventh graders had used alcohol.

The first BOLT event on April 25 will be at Virginia Wesleyan College’s Jane P. Batten Student Center at 1585 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk. The second event on May 2 will be held at Camp Roanoke, an outdoor adventure camp in western Roanoke County, located just off interstate 81, at 6498 Dry Hollow Road in Salem.

Keynote speaker at both events is Charles Clark, a world-class athlete, business executive and motivational speaker. He will focus on instilling the belief that “anything is possible and you can achieve life’s rarest accomplishments.” Other highlights of both days will include activities, giveaways, peer-led experiential learning, and valuable information from community coalition partners.

“I am excited to plan and participate in a program that is truly giving back to the community each year and allowing me to support the next generation of peer leaders and educators,” said Student Coordinator and BOLT Expo Chair Katelyn Jordan, a senior at Kellam High School in Virginia Beach.

Students and parents are invited to register for either event at https://www.abc.virginia.gov/education/programs/bolt. For further questions, please contact regional partners:

  • Chesapeake Region partner contact is Nicky Vasquez of the Mayor’s Youth Leaders in Action, Virginia Beach Parks & Recreations, at myla@vbgov.com.
  • Roanoke Region partner contact is Nancy Hans of the Prevention Council of Roanoke County, at nhans@pc4y.org.


The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.8 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 351 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 16,000 ABC licensed establishments while the Hearings and Appeals Division considers more than 700 cases each year. The agency also provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. ABC is committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.

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  • Virginia ABC Launches Middle School Initiative to Stop Underage Drug and Alcohol Use