The message at a Preteen Alliance luncheon held March 3 was clear — start talking before kids start drinking.
The luncheon speakers, David Mineta, deputy director of Asian American Recovery Services, and Mary Bier, coordinator of the Partnership for a Safe and Healthy Pacifica, discussed a tragic alcohol-related accident that prompted Pacifica to organize a community-wide effort to prevent substance abuse among youth.
The Partnership was formed shortly after the deaths of 19-year-old Jonny Bier, Mary’s nephew, and 16-year-old Stephanie Echeverri, who were in an alcohol-related car accident.
David and Mary have made it a priority to encourage local families to help children understand the consequences of alcohol use. The speakers stressed that adults can help a child develop a healthy lifestyle and prevent alcohol use by focusing on the 40 developmental assets identified by the Search Institute.
Specifically for preteens, these assets include:
The Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health also presented some data from kidsdata.org to illustrate the rates of teen drinking and drug use locally. These data include:
More than 70 people attended the luncheon at the Redwood City library and many noted their desire to learn more about how to talk to preteens to prevent alcohol use. A list of tips and resources is available here on this website. Also, leave a comment if you have suggestions for how parents and service providers can talk to preteens about this important topic.