- Number of youth reached: 32
- Number of chapter members involved: 10
Ten of the South Hadley Peer Leaders presented on Tuesday evening November 14 as part of the Future Directions Retreat of the South Hadley Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition at Mt Holyoke College. Among the assembly of almost 60 people were the Northwestern Region District Attorney, the South Hadley Town Manager, members of the South Hadley Selectboard, representatives from Senator Stan Rosenberg, and from Governor Baker. There were educators, members of the faith community, faculty from the College, parents and professionals, including the Directors of two partner Coalitions (the SPIFFY Coalition funded by the Bureau of Substance Abuse Services, and the Hampshire HOPE Coalition for opiate prevention). The students talked about the ways that the Peer Leaders have worked to support the goals of the Coalition, especially highlighting their tobacco prevention efforts over many years. Youth took turns describing different initiatives including marching to the State House on Kick Butts Day and meeting with House Representative (D) John Scibak multiple times; holding events at the High School for The Great American Smoke-Out year after year; attending the meeting at Town Hall to address the Board of Health in support of raising the age of tobacco purchase to 21; surveying the town retailers as part of a minigrant for The84 on flavored tobacco products and presenting the information to our Board of Health, which was followed by the Board of Health voting to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products in South Hadley. During the evening data was reviewed that showed the impressive decrease in the number of students who are smoking cigarettes now. But the Peer Leaders are concerned that vaping is on the increase among our students and that this needs to be worked on this year. The adults in attendance were impressed by the commitment of these young people.