April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is spreading its prevention message to youth with the launch of its second annual Being Outstanding Leaders Together Against Drugs and Alcohol (BOLT) program for middle school students.
BOLT events encourage conversations between parents and preteens about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and are hosted by community groups through a partnership with Virginia ABC’s Education and Prevention Section. The following spring BOLT events are FREE and open to middle school students and their parents:
According to a U.S. Surgeon General report, almost 20 percent of 14-year-olds say they've been drunk at least once. Another study by RAND Health found that three-quarters of seventh graders had used alcohol.
“BOLT allows us to reach a critical age group and equip students with the knowledge and skills to make healthy life choices,” said ABC Education and Prevention Manager Katie Weaks.
High school students who have attended ABC’s Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP) worked in each locality to create the BOLT programs and will serve as mentors to their younger peers. The educational objectives of the BOLT program include:
Students and parents in the respective areas are invited to register by contacting regional partners. For BOLT on April 16 at Lafayette High School in Williamsburg, contact co-coordinators Alexis Carrington (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Jamie Plecker (email@example.com) at Newport News Public Schools. For BOLT on May 7 at Central Middle School in Charlotte County, contact Karen Osborne (firstname.lastname@example.org) at Charlotte County Public Schools.
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 358 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. Now marking its 83rd year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.
Virginia ABC Presents “BOLT” Middle School Initiative to Help Prevent Underage Alcohol and Drug Use