Whether its peer pressure, curiosity or a coping mechanism, drugs and alcohol remain prevalent temptations that have been following youth like a shadow for decades. That’s why the Friday Night Live/Club Live program is here to shed light on the issue by educating youths on the woes of substance abuse while promoting healthy, common sense-based lifestyles.
The program itself got started in 1984, and in Winters in 1989. However, it’s been something of an off-and-on relationship as it’s a youth-run program that’s subject to administrative and school participation/support. Luckily, the program is back with Club Live active at the Winters Middle School and Friday Night Live at Winters High School.
“It’s an alcohol, tobacco and other drug-free program. One of the basics of it is to educate the youth about the consequences of using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, but to do it in a way where they learn skills and can be part of campaigns and take ownership of what they do,” explained Debbie Carrion-Clifford, Friday Night Live Program coordinator and outreach specialist. “A big activity everyone knows is Red Ribbon Week, so we support that and the kids design the activities they do at their schools and we help them carry those out. But, the important part is that we work within the communities to have meaningful contributions and to just promote good health within the communities they’re a part of. They do that through outreach, social action or through advocacy.”
Currently, the WHS Friday Night Live is working on a campaign called ‘Revoke The Smoke’ which is focused on the sale of flavored tobacco products. Inspiring this is the fact that Winters is the only city in Yolo County that still sells flavored tobacco products.
These clubs run year-round, meet every other week and — along with getting Winters’ head out of the flavored tobacco smoke clouds — are working hard in preparations for Red Ribbon Week coming in October.
“Our first meeting was a hit with 84 students who participated. We are hard at work now to get activities going for Red Ribbon Week at the end of October,” explained Mari Chavez, WMS Club Live advisor and WHS Varsity volleyball coach. “The students have an opportunity to collaborate with each other and come up with ideas for lunch time activities and other activities that will be utilized for future student body events at WMS.”
Beyond the drug awareness, program members learn a litany of other life skills such as public speaking, how to make presentations, civic engagement, who to talk to, to make change and a comprehensive education on how to handle themselves in risky situations involving drugs and alcohol. As Carrion-Clifford would state it, pushing positive peer-pressure onto their friends.
“How it started was that in the early 80s, high school students were dying in alcohol-related car accidents between the hours of 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday nights because of football or parties or whatever else is going on. So, students came together because they wanted their friends to be alive on Friday nights. That’s how the name came to be,” explained Carrion-Clifford. “We want students to be able to have skills and know what to do when put into a situation where they’re offered alcohol or have to get into a car when someone has been drinking. We want them to have those refusal skills and know that they have options and a plan and know how to handle the situation before it happens.”
To learn more about this program, one can visit www.fridaynight
live.org or email Carrion-Clifford directly at debbie.clifford@yolo