Majority Rules Via Sticker BlitzBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Monday, December 18, 2006
A two-day student sticker blitz that targeted bottles of brew inside local liquor stores may keep those over 21 from buying alcoholic beverages for underage youth and save lives, according to "Sticker Shock 2006" initiative coordinator Ed Sedarbaum.
|Stickers advising against purchasing alcoholic beverages for underage youth were placed on specific Adams, North Adams, and Williamstown liquor store inventory.|
Sedarbaum is employed at the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition.
"I think this was tremendously successful," said Sedarbaum during a Dec. 18 interview. "I don't think there's anything like being an adult and putting your hands on a bottle [of liquor or beer] with a sticker that says buying for underage people is illegal."
Students from the Hoosac Valley High School and Mount Greylock Regional High School after-prom committees, with permission from various store owners, conducted a sticker-tour on Dec. 15 and 16 in Adams, Williamstown, and part of North Adams. The overall project is titled "Northern Berkshire Communities Mobilizing For Change On Alcohol," and individual stickers bore community name, such as "Williamstown Mobilizing For Change On Alcohol."
Police and members of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts mens and womens basketball teams assisted the students with the endeavor, Sedarbaum said.
The program delivers a different approach to the issue of underage drinking and the issue of older people who purchase the beverages for the younger teens.
"Instead of talking to the kids, we work to change the environment surrounding alcohol," he said.
In Adams, a 7-11 store, Val's Variety, the Oasis package store and O'Geary's store welcomed the students and stickers, according to information provided by Sedarbaum. In Williamstown, the Spirit Shop on Cole Avenue and West's on Spring Street agreed to allow the "stickering" and MGRHS youth also placed stickers on bottles at the Liquor Mart in North Adams.
Williamstown police planned to deliver stickers to the West's Liquor store in North Adams, according to information provided by Sedarbaum.
The Next Door liquor store management in Vermont were interested in the program but, because Vermont liquor stores are state-governed, permission from state officials must be acquired before the stickers can be placed, Sedarbaum said.
Perceptions that a majority of underage youth drink alcoholic beverages are incorrect, Sedarbaum said.
"People need to be reminded that [those who choose not to drink] are not the minority," he said. "They are the majority and it is OK to speak out."
The sticker project message is similar to a message delivered by a Northern Berkshire Community Coalition "Safe Homes" initiative launched four years ago, Sedarbaum noted.
That project involved parents who pledged to maintain drug and alcohol free homes and alert other parents if a young guest at the "safe home" violated the substance-free status or other pledge components.
Parents who agreed to offer "safe homes" were listed in a directory that was distributed to homes throughout the Northern Berkshire area.
"I remember when we had the meetings for Safe Homes and people found out that most other people wanted the same things for the kids that they did," Sedarbaum said.