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Letter: Wilton Youth Say 'You're Not the Only One'

WILTON, Conn. - The following is a letter from the Wilton Youth Council on drug and alcohol awarness.

Wilton Youth Council’s Peer Connection group has been working hard to get their message out - “You’re Not the Only One – Above the Influence”.

This group of Middlebrook eighth graders hosted a bake sale on May 21 to raise money as part of their community service project, the culmination of a year-long commitment to the Peer Connection program.

These young people hope to reach their peers with the message that it is OK to abstain from use of alcohol and illicit substances, and if you do, you will be one of the more than 70 percent of Wilton ninth and 10th graders who have demonstrated a similar conviction (refer to the 2011 Survey of Substance Use among Wilton Youth at www.PositiveDirections.com ). Along with the purchase of a tasty home-baked treat, the teens gave away a free wrist band printed with the words, “You’re not the Only One – Above the Influence.”

To further promote the sentiment, they made posters that can be seen around town and at Middlebrook School. Their work is part of a wider effort by Wilton Youth Services, in partnership with Positive Directions, to roll out a social norming campaign to let youth know that not every teen uses alcohol and drugs, and if you don’t, you will still have friends.

The funds from the bake sale will be donated to the Midwestern Connecticut Council on Alcoholism, which provides substance abuse and addiction rehabilitation services to the Greater Danbury Area.

Peer Connection has two main goals: to provide support for peers and offer prevention education to enrich the Wilton community. Along with its sister group, PeerVention at Wilton High School, the programs were developed with the simple premise that students often turn to their friends for help with their problems before they go to adults.

These programs train students in the areas of communication, problem-solving and reaching-out skills. Peer Connection meets once a week at Trackside during the school year and is facilitated by Brett and Aimee Beatty, under the auspices of the town’s Wilton Youth Services and the Wilton Youth Council.

The program is made possible by the generous funding of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, parental contributions and the Wilton Youth Council.

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