Each year young adult leaders are the driving force for the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s (ABC) Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP). This year 12 of these volunteer leaders will represent the Newport News and Tidewater area at the week-long event to develop plans to combat underage substance use across the commonwealth. The YADAPP conference is set for July 18-22 at Longwood University in Farmville.
For more than three decades, enthusiastic teams of Virginia youth have convened for a week in the summer to brainstorm ways to inspire their peers to keep their schools and communities alcohol free. Among the youth from around the state who will volunteer their time and concerted efforts to lead this year’s conference will be:
Morgan Ryan of Newport News Savannah Rowland of Yorktown
Taylor Johnson of Newport News Taylor Teagle of Yorktown
Taylor Mickel of Newport News Marlon Huff of Newport News
Ashonte Burke of Newport News Jonel Jones of West Point
Dakota Rust of Newport News M’Kayla Brown of Newport News
Carlyssa LeBeauf of Newport News Jalanay Gray of Newport News
“Peer leaders are integral to the success of YADAPP,” said Virginia ABC Chairman Jeffrey Painter. “We are very proud of the outstanding young men and women who donate their considerable time and energy each year to promote a healthier environment for Virginia’s students.”
This year 58 youth staff will guide and coach student participants through the program, which requires that each team in attendance develop Strategies to Act Now (STAN) plans. The plans are created to prevent high school substance use within their own school and/or community.
YADAPP has given rise to many innovative and collaborative programs over the years to promote safer and healthier lifestyles. Some of those have included a mentorship program, a prevention club, partnering with a school’s athletic department on alcohol prevention efforts and creating an “It Starts With Us” campaign to empower fellow students to say no to alcohol.
Alcohol use by young people has dangerous consequences. A 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that among high school students, during the past 30 days 21 percent reported binge drinking and 10 percent said they had driven after drinking alcohol.
In addition to the YADAPP program, Virginia ABC offers many education and prevention initiatives, including a grant program that annually awards funds to community organizations for alcohol education and prevention programs across the state; and a College Tour conference that advocates healthy choices and social responsibility to Virginia college students.
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 359 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 17,000 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 82nd year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.
Local Youths to Serve as Peer Leaders in Statewide Conference