The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) continues to spread its prevention message to youth with the launch of its third annual Being Outstanding Leaders Together Against Drugs and Alcohol (BOLT) program for middle school students. BOLT events encourage community conversations about the dangers of drugs and alcohol and provide opportunities for high school students to exercise their leadership skills.
Virginia ABC, in partnership with Botetourt County Public Schools and the Botetourt County Prevention Coalition, will kick off the BOLT series on Friday, Dec. 16. BOLT presentations and discussions will be held at the county’s two middle schools (Central Academy and Read Mountain) throughout the school day followed by evening events, including a community presentation during the Lord Botetourt High School (LBHS) versus James River High School basketball game at LBHS, 1435 Roanoke Road in Daleville.
Rohan Murphy, an inspirational speaker, Paralympian and internationally recognized powerlifter, will speak at the middle schools and at Lord Botetourt High School before the basketball game. Murphy, who some may recognize from his NIKE commercial inspiring people to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle, will share his insights about self-acceptance, overcoming adversity, leadership and resisting negative peer pressure. High school youth leaders will guide discussion groups with middle school students following Murphy’s presentations during the day and assist with a prevention fair featuring interactive activities in the evening.
The BOLT activities are expected to reach 2,000 or more community members.
“We’re very excited that our Botetourt County partners have planned such a comprehensive BOLT event,” ABC Education and Prevention Manager Katie Weaks said. “Middle school is a time when many children are exposed to alcohol and other drugs for the first time. BOLT will provide information and strategies to encourage students to avoid underage drinking and be positive role models.”
Results from Botetourt County’s 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) indicated 23 percent of middle school students reported drinking alcohol at least once, and 17 percent said they rode in a car with someone who had been drinking.
The survey also indicated that children whose parents identify clear rules and disapproval regarding substance use are more likely to avoid underage drinking and other risky behaviors. To address this, the YRBS data will be presented during parent discussion groups held as part of the BOLT event.
For additional details about the Botetourt County BOLT event, including an agenda, contact Ashley Hatcher with Botetourt County Public Schools at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.9 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 364 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.
Botetourt Schools Host BOLT Initiative