When students at Franklin County High School— joined by several faculty members and coaches—wearing white T-shirts with messages about the dangers of drug use marched silently through school halls carrying banners bearing substance abuse mortality rates, their classmates took notice.
That was the goal for the members of the Communities Helping Improve Local Lives (CHILL) Team 2 who also took their silent march to their neighborhood sidewalks and half-time at a high school football game. It was all part of the students’ “White Out Week” campaign, developed through the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) sponsored Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP).
Their ingenuity and the success of their event, held last fall during Substance Abuse Awareness Month, have been rewarded with a $500 grant from Virginia ABC, which selected the team to receive the agency’s annual Wheeler Award.
An estimated 4,000 people observed the students at school and in the community throughout the week’s activities. “White Out Week” was the brainchild of four team members—Raejon Hampton, Samantha Prillaman, Jordan Thompson and Taylor Jones— who participated in 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. CHILL Team 2 will use the grant money to further its prevention efforts during this school year.
“As other recipients of the Wheeler Award before them, the Communities Helping Improve Local Lives Team 2 is inspiring,” said Virginia ABC Chairman Jeffrey Painter. “We value our community partners who work to secure a safe and drug-free environment for Virginia youth. We want all students to achieve personal success and continue to build stronger communities and peer networks.”
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 20 YADAPP team 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:
•Chancellor High School Team 2 (Spotsylvania County)
•Chancellor High School Team 4 (Spotsylvania County)
•CHILL Team 1 (Martinsville/Franklin County)
•CHILL Team 2 (Martinsville/Franklin County)
•City of Newport News Team 4
•Dan River High School (Danville)
•Gar-Field High School Team 2 (Prince William County)
•Hanover Cares Team 2 (Hanover County)
•Heritage High School Team 1 (Newport News)
•Heritage High School Team 4 (Newport News)
•Highland High School (Warrenton)
•Lafayette High School Team 2 (Williamsburg)
•Monacan High School Team 1 (Chesterfield County)
•Page County High School
•Radford High School
•Stuarts Draft High School Team 1 (Augusta County)
•Stuarts Draft High School Team 2 (Augusta County)
•Surry County Office on Youth Team 2
•Western Albemarle High School (Albemarle County)
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 $1.9 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 368 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.