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Grand Rapids Teens Fight to Stay 'Above the Influence'

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Local teens help raise awareness about the dangers of buying alcohol for minors
Volunteers outside of Duthler's Family Foods off Bridge St.

Volunteers outside of Duthler's Family Foods off Bridge St. /Chad Patton

Project Sticker Shock

On October 26, 2013, students from around the Grand Rapids community helped raise awareness about alcohol and how harmful it can be for adults to buy alcoholic beverages for teenagers.

With help from TRiO Educational Talent Search, TRiO Upward Bound, Duthler's Family Foods, and Network 180, The Kent County Prevention Coalition encouraged students to live Above the Influence, and to encourage others to do so as well.

Sticker Shock

Sticker Shock /Chad Patton

A volunteer works diligently to place stickers on alcoholic beverages

A volunteer works diligently to place stickers on alcoholic beverages /Chad Patton

Close to 100 students from various West Michigan schools flooded various grocery and party stores with one purpose in mind: Stop adults from purchasing alcohol for minors.

On Saturday, October 26, Kent County Prevention Coalition brought students together for their annual Sticker Shock event. Working with Network 180, Duthler’s Family Foods, and Grand Valley’s TRiO Educational Talent Search and Upward Bound Programs, the event gave students valuable volunteering experience, all of which pertained to living above the influence.

For Junius Murphy, a TRiO student at Innovations Central High School his experience came in the form of spreading awareness at the front of each store. Junius said he was “standing in the front [of the store] telling adults not to provide alcohol to minors.”

“It might remind [adults] that what they are doing is wrong,” Junius said about adults considering purchasing alcoholic beverages for minors.

Cecilia Ruelas, however, seemed to place a majority of the blame on students. “Teenagers know not to drink alcohol,” Cecilia, a Union High School TRiO student, said.

For Antonio Martinez, another TRiO student at Union High School, the reason why teenagers have difficulty staying above the influence is because of their lack of role models.

“I always had people as role models,” Antonio said, “[Sticker Shock] can help role models in other peoples’ lives to not give them alcohol.”

Throughout the day, the message each teen spread held strong: Help others to stay above the influence.

When everything was said and done, I asked Cecilia how she thought she was affecting the community. “I hope this will affect teenagers,” Cecilia said, “it might not affect as many people as [we] want, but it’s at least something for people to think about.”

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