It is nice to see recovery advocates take a stand on a local level. And in our home state of California, students from Fresno-based Roosevelt High School are sending out a clear message about the dangers of alcohol. To their credit, the campaign has become so notable that it’s garnered nationwide attention.
The concept has to do with “replacing” local alcohol ads with messages of hope and recovery. Sadly, areas surrounding the school are littered with beer and cocktail messaging. So, in an effort to change perceptions, the Friday Night Live chapter of Roosevelt purchased Fresno billboard space and put up signage emphasizing “Education over alcohol.” To help promote diversity, each of the eight students pictured in the ad represent different backgrounds and different stories.
As many students can attest, the booze campaigns have taken a negative toll. In fact, a recent survey of the school revealed that more than half of all Roosevelt students find themselves influenced by the flurry of ads (with many anonymously admitted that they partake in underage drinking).
School sophomore Christina Garcia spoke with the local news outlet, ABC 30, about the ongoing peer pressure she and her fellow students face.
“Coming from me as a youth I have friends that say drinking is this and drinking is my life,” she explained. “OK it’s your life but what about your life. You’re just going to throw away your life for alcohol.”
As part of the movement, a school-wide initiative has been taking place which encourages alcohol abstinence. The success of that first step helped make the billboard the reality, which also reads “80% of Roosevelt students have not used alcohol in the past 30 days.” Future programs are being worked on as well. And if more milestones can be accomplished, more billboards will be funded (including two more across downtown Fresno).
The city’s Unified School District Superintendent Bob Nelson also spoke to ABC, praising the positive work these students are doing.
“For folks that are making good choices and prioritizing education over drugs and alcohol that you have some like-minded colleagues,” he proudly touted. “So kids finding each other and willing to say, ‘Hey I’m not willing to let anything get in my way of college,’ is a really strong message.”
And as we mentioned above, the story is getting a nice amount of attention. You can see the full report for yourself by clicking the viral video below.