As part of the Barrio Arts, Culture, and Communication Academy (BACCA), a group of youth from the Humboldt Park community has become involved in a campaign to address the issue of underage drinking in the community. BACCA is an innovative after school program developed by the Puerto Rican Cultural Center (PRCC) in collaboration with La Capilla del Barrio Community Chapel and funding from the Bethany United Hospital Fund. The program hopes to provide an alternative outlet to substance abuse. In addition, BACCA seeks to integrate community, culture, and multimedia production to empower youth to be agents of change and inspiration in their community.
The program also seeks to develop the assets that youth already have but which are rarely, if ever, validated in standard educational programs and schools. By working with a group of students, as youth organizers, these young people with be creating meaningful program to engage other youth at their schools and community. We hope to create awareness in the community that will speak to the idea of positive transformation and possibility. We will be creating fliers, posters, theatrical productions, video PSAs, hosting events, and visiting schools. We will be working with high school students, particularly in Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican High School, Roberto Clemente High School, and ASPIRA High School.
Reflection from Jashlee Ann Turbe
The underage drinking prevention campaign has really helped me understand the importance of being part of a program that attempts to provide positive events for youth in the community. Before getting to know the campaign, I always used to judge people when I saw them drinking and notice that they would become violent towards others and themselves. I have made some research and came to the conclusion that there are three common reasons why young people drink: they are depressed, their parents gave them their first drink or their peers influence them. However with being part the campaign, I came to realize that we as a community have to make some changes now especially reaching out to the youth before it is to late. I have become very aware of these issues. We have been thinking of ideas to show the youth that they have alternatives in which they can be part of creating a solution for positive change. For example, we will be having monthly events that will allow for youth to be engaged in something different and meaningful for them to do. The campaign would also like to show that we have a safe environment where youth can come use the space, just hang out with us, and even help us creating events for our campaign. We hope that this program will be a motivating force in the community to create something great and unique for youth.
Reflection from Edwin Diaz
Underage drinking is something common in the community that I live in. Many young people are involved in drinking and many of my friends are as well. I always thought why do young people turn to alcohol and that was a question I had wondered for a while now. I have come to understand that many do it to deal with the problem they are facing. When I finally found out that young people drink because of problems in their family, stress, and other issues that are often not dealt with in my community I decided to play a role in which I am part of a solution to provide other ways in dealing with our problems. I understand what they are going through. To keep my head away from drinking I joined an organization that is called the anti underage drinking campaign. Through the campaign, I am able to understand and see how many teens are feeling towards underage drinking and their opinion on the subject. Not only that, I am able to help create positive change to help others in my community. Through creating messages, workshops, and invents we hope to reach young people around that need it the most. We encourage them to take up the leadership and drop the bottle. We also would like for others in the community to show to us how to be more responsible, which I think is very important.
by Nito Morales