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    Prevention-Florida Style

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    I just returned from Florida’s annual statewide prevention conference in Orlando. While the content was excellent, as always, what was most impressive was the passion, commitment and overall spirit of hope that was infused into all of the information provided. Hope truly is a powerful concept. It lights the way towards possibilities that otherwise wouldn’t be considered. If you are hopeful, you believe that things can change for the better, that the world can be a little better, that lives can be transformed. And that’s magical. And it works.

    In the spirit of hope, I would like to introduce you to a social marketing campaign that the State of Florida has introduced in its communities. A bit on social marketing–it’s much like traditional marketing except that instead of promoting a product or service, social and health-related concepts are marketed.

    www.bethewall.org

    In Florida, “Be the Wall” is the theme: encouraging parents to Be the Wall between youth and underage drinking–to give clear, firm and consistent messages to their youth that underage drinking is not acceptable in your family. For more information on Be the Wall, please check out the website: www.bethewall.org

    Research has shown that youth consider their parents to be the most influential people in their lives. They may not admit it, parents, but your teens do listen to you, and they need you and your guidance now more than ever. So, go ahead, and spend time with them, talk to them, text them–let them know you support them and what you worry about–they are paying more attention to what you do and say than you might realize.

    “Be the Wall” is also about youth making a commitment to Be the Wall between their friends and underage drinking. Youth also have a strong influence on other youth and can also contribute to being strong role models and leaders among their peers. Youth have an opportunity to be empowered by other adults and their community to help spread positive messages about what is right with today’s teens. Help your youth get involved with community organizations and activities that will help them work to improve their community and develop leadership skills. This also will give them a cutting edge above many other students as they compete for scholarships and apply for college admissions.

    Consider getting involved with or beginning a social marketing campaign in your community and/or doing this activity with your teen. Help infuse hope into your neighborhoods and schools. Be an example of the power of hope, that things can change, that the world can be a little better, one community, one family at a time.

    “Be The Wall” is a statewide social marketing campaign sponsored by the Florida Governor’s Office of Drug Control, Florida Department of Children and Families, and the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant.