21 November 2017

Together We Can Reduce Underage Drinking

Posted in Health & Safety

Together We Can Reduce Underage Drinking

By Kelly O'Connor & Aimee Bates Oak Park - River Forest Workgroup for Positive Youth Development

Our community has an underage drinking problem.

Since 2010, in surveys of 8th to 12th graders in Oak Park and River Forest, our local youth have reported attitudes toward—and activity involving—drinking alcohol that consistently and significantly exceeds the state average.

An overly permissive attitude among adults—who either provide access to alcohol, or turn a blind eye to it—is clearly part of the problem, according to Illinois Youth Survey results as well as focus group feedback that we have gathered the past few months.

But we don’t have to settle for the status quo. Because the data have sent red flags up at the state level, Oak Park Township has received a federal grant, administered through the Illinois Department of Human Services, to create a communication and education campaign that aims to reduce underage drinking. The Oak Park River Forest Workgroup for Positive Youth Development (PYD) is at the heart of this effort.

PYD includes parents, educators, law enforcement officials and many organizations that focus on positive youth development. The group offers practical insight and guidance that helps the Township identify and implement prevention strategies that support youth in making choices that lead to healthy, alcohol-free lives.

This effort has already received attention in the local press (see “Oak Park, River Forest Community Group seeks to Reduce Underage Drinking”) which is part of the solution—turning the spotlight on the issue.

But we must do more. We need all hands on-deck. The PYD communications campaign to reduce underage drinking will appear throughout Oak Park and River Forest, at the high school, as well as online.

So how can you help? When you see a PYD Campaign message, share it! Spread the word in person and online. Use this opportunity to connect with parents, young people, friends, neighbors and acquaintances in the community. Encourage them to share with their connections.

You have immense power to accelerate and enhance the impact of this campaign; to change how our community and our young people perceive the real-life consequences of underage drinking; and to educate and support positive choices.


Kelly and AimeeFor more information, please contact Kelly O’Connor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 708-383-8005, extension 125; or Aimee Bates at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 708-383-8005, extension 118.

The Strategic Prevention Framework-Partnerships for Success campaign is ​funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through an Illinois Department of Human Services grant. Oak Park Township is online at www.oakparktownship.org.

Contact Us

SAYinfo@oprfcf.org

708-848-1560
1049 Lake Street, Suite 204
Oak Park, IL 60301

Be a part of this journey. We have multiple opportunities for volunteering, community and corporate partnerships, and investment.