The Lafayette Drug and Alcohol Resistance Team (LDART) at Williamsburg’s Lafayette High School used the enticement of ice cream and pizza to achieve a very ambitious goal—getting teens to engage in a substance-free event instead of using drugs and alcohol.
Their ingenuity and the success of their event have been rewarded with a $500 grant from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), which selected the team to receive the agency’s annual Wheeler Award.
About 114 students attended LDART’s event on March 31 and completed a scavenger hunt that challenged students to answer questions about drugs and alcohol and promoted important peer-to-peer conversations. The event was the brainchild of four team members—Lafayette High School seniors Ayanna Coan, Patricia Bryant, Risharda Smith and Le’Paris Moore— who participated in Virginia ABC’s Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP).
YADAPP is a year-long peer leadership program that begins each summer when high schools and community groups send teams to participate in a five-day conference. Teams broaden their knowledge of substance abuse prevention and work together to create Strategies to Act Now (STAN) Plans to be implemented during the following school year. LDART will receive $500 to further their prevention efforts during this school year.
“The example set by the Lafayette Drug and Alcohol Resistance Team is impressive,” said Virginia ABC Chairman Jeffrey Painter. “As other recipients of the Wheeler Award before them, they inspire others to secure a safe and drug-free environment for Virginia youths so that they might achieve personal success and build stronger communities and peer networks. We applaud their courage and commitment to making a difference.”
The Wheeler Award, established in 1986, honors Morris and Billie Wheeler for their dedication to Virginia’s youth. The Wheeler’s daughter Sandy was killed by a drunk driver in 1981. Since then they have worked tirelessly with Virginia ABC and other organizations to promote youth leadership and prevent drunk driving.
Virginia ABC also named 19 YADAPP teams winners of mini-grants for their STAN Plans. Each team of four students, assisted by an Adult Sponsor, will receive $250 to support their substance use prevention efforts. Mini-grant recipients include teams representing the following schools and communities:
Editor’s Note: Photos of the award presentations and additional details regarding the teams’ respective STAN Plans are available.
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 363 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 83rd year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.
2016 YADAPP Awards Grants to Support Virginia Youth Leadership Efforts to Prevent Alcohol Use