Enrollment opens September 1 for Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority’s (ABC) new, online version of the Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP). For the first time since the program began in 1984, participants and sponsors will explore ways to address substance use in their high schools and communities using online tools and guidance from their peers. Traditionally, the program has begun with a week-long kick-off conference that brings teams of students and sponsors together at Longwood University in Farmville.
Like many programs and events in Virginia, and around the country, featuring large gatherings, YADAPP has been reimagined this year to adapt to concerns about the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
The program is a unique peer leadership opportunity fostering healthy communities and the prevention of substance misuse. It is a year-long experience open to all high schools and community organizations in Virginia. This year they are each invited to select a team of four student leaders with one adult sponsor to take part in online training in prevention best practices to develop a strategic prevention plan addressing youth substance use.
Student training topics include leadership, alcohol and other drug trends, networking and advocacy, fundraising, project planning and virtual prevention strategies. Adult sponsors also take part in the training, learning about mentoring and youth engagement, recruitment and retention and prevention strategies.
Teams will develop strategic plans to address alcohol or other drug use among their peers, which will be submitted to YADAPP’s youth staff comprised of students who have taken part in previous YADAPP programs. The staff will review the plans and in some cases suggest modifications. All plans will be considered to receive a $250 grant which will serve as seed money to fund their Strategies to Act Now (STAN) Plan.
Virginia ABC staff provides support throughout the 2020–2021 academic year as YADAPP teams implement these plans in their respective communities.
YADAPP registration is open Sept. 1–25 and costs $50. Teams will complete online training modules and develop their plans Oct. 1-15. Once submitted for review by YADAPP’s youth staff and Virginia ABC Education and Prevention Section, announcements about grant recipients will be made by early November.
“Response to the COVID-19 pandemic may have made our original plans not possible, but Virginia ABC and its partners remain committed to fostering collaborative, student-led efforts to reduce substance misuse in Virginia’s high schools,” said Virginia ABC Education and Prevention Manager Katie Crumble. “High school students are facing unprecedented forms of stress – maintaining clear and consistent messaging and expectations regarding substance use is more important than ever.”
For more information, visit the YADAPP website, http://www.yadapp.com.
Web: www.abc.virginia.gov Facebook: @VirginiaABCEducationandPrevention Twitter: @VirginiaABC