Today is the first ever National “Above the Influence” (ATI) Day. Taking place during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month in October, ATI Day is a time to celebrate youth living the “Above the Influence” lifestyle and to recognize the power of prevention efforts in local communities. This annual tradition will reinforce ATI as a central substance abuse prevention tool on the national level and among community partners, key stakeholders, and youth around the country.
200 groups across the nation are planning to hold at least one ATI activity or event during October. In addition, 85 communities plan to conduct ATI discussion forums on Oct. 18, providing opportunities for youth to discuss the influences they face at home, school, and in the community.
Director Kerlikowske and ONDCP’s three Deputy Directors will host ATI discussion forums in four communities around the country. The anchor event at the District of Columbia’s Newseum will feature a teen panel discussion and ATI-inspired performances by local teens.
Locally, Van Buren Youth Leadership Council (YLC) members are holding a variety of activities to support Above the Influence Day and show how students in our community are “Above the Influence”. At their Youth Leadership Training last week all students designed an above the influence logo to represent why they were above the influence. Alena Whitaker from Harmony High School had the winning design and will be featured in future ATI marketing materials (see photo).
The high school YLC members will be holding a poster/slogan contest for students in 7th and 8th grade at Van Buren Middle School. This contest will encourage students to think of a six word slogan that describes their life. They will design a poster related to their slogan that will be on display on ATI day and a winner will be selected. They will also be posting a variety of Above the Influence posters and youth designs around the school and community. Many of these posters show how students pledge to be above the influence.
A final activity for the week encourages students to draw the above the influence logo somewhere, take a picture of it and post it to the ATI Facebook page. This is a national activity that local youth are participating in to showcase their commitment to being above the influence of drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Announcements will be read at school and a radio show will be done to promote these events! Be watching for these activities and keep encouraging these students to live Above the Influence.
For more information on ATI Day you may contact the coalition at 319-293-6412 or visit the ATI webpage at www.abovetheinfluence.com.