Mundelein Launches Alcohol Prevention Campaign
On May 1, 2019, the Mundelein STAND-UP Task Force, Mundelein After School Coalition, and the Mundelein Police Department launched the annual "Parents Who Host Lose the Most" Campaign to prevent underage drinking during prom and graduation season. Volunteers visited local businesses and schools in Mundelein and asked owners/representatives to display materials such as yard signs, posters, banners, coasters and bottle neck brochures from the campaign. The message reminds parents and other adults that it is illegal to provide alcohol or other drugs to minors, per Mundelein Social Host Ordinance 9.80 and the Illinois Social Host Law.
Prom and graduation are full of celebrations. During this time, some families may allow teens to drink alcohol. The Parents Who Host Lose the Most campaign reminds parents and other adults that underage drinking is dangerous and illegal. According to the 2018 Illinois Youth Survey, 41% of seniors who reported drinking alcohol during the past year said they drank it with their parents' permission. Students also reported they obtained alcohol most often from "friend", "party", and "parents without their permission". Other sources of alcohol were "an adult, other than parent, with permission" and "older sibling".
Steve Balogh, School Resource Officer at Mundelein High School and Mundelein STAND-UP Task Force Chairperson, was very pleased with the success of the campaign launch this year and said that, "every year the event gets better. We are grateful that the Mundelein community takes this issue seriously and supports the health and safety of our youth. It is up to us as parents and adults to protect our kids and help them make the best choices for their future. We can do that by not allowing underage drinking." Balogh thanked businesses that displayed campaign materials on their property and said that he is happy to see such a diverse representation of businesses and other organizations that support this campaign.
Mundelein Police Chief Eric Guenther had a message for parents, "the number one way to keep teens safe from the negative consequences of alcohol and other drug use is to provide drug-free places for teens to hang out after prom, during graduation parties, and over the summer. If teens don't have access to alcohol and other drugs or a place to use these substances because parents and other adults monitor the space closely, they are less likely to engage in the behavior. As parents, we need to keep a close eye on what happens in our home and check in with other parents if teens plan on hanging out there."
Over 100 locations participated this year. One business in particular was recognized for getting a jump start on the campaign by displaying a sign with STAND-UP message and logo in front of their property a couple weeks ahead of the campaign launch. STAND-UP Coordinator, Kim Radoy, sent a special thank you to owner of Flowerama, Elaine Hanusa, who worked alongside STAND-UP volunteer, Chris Woodard of the Mundelein LGBT Alliance, to create the large board to display on their high traffic spot in time for prom.
Students said they loved participating in the event and would do it again next year because they feel they are doing their part to spread the drug-free message and keep their peers safe. Mundelein High School students Megan Rastrelli, Aileen Cirilo, Stephanie Gutierrez and Courtney Brunkow partnered with Community Service Police Officers Noe Torres and Jessica Catinella, and other STAND-UP volunteers to distribute campaign materials to local businesses, with the help of students from Carl Sandburg Middle School.
In honor of the community-wide effort, Pastor Thomas McArthur of local church, The Chapel in Mundelein, invited volunteers to a celebration barbecue at the police department, courtesy of his church. Pastor Thomas said, "It is my pleasure to cook for volunteers who work so hard to prevent underage drinking. A job well done to the Mundelein Police Department and STAND-UP volunteers for taking an active role in this event."
The Mundelein STAND-UP Task Force started in 2007 to prevent and reduce underage drinking and drug use among youth in Mundelein. The group is comprised of community leaders, organizations, schools, police, churches, youth, parents, and neighbors who are concerned about the health, safety and well-being of Mundelein youth. The Task Force usually meets the second Thursday of every month at the Mundelein Police Department from 8:30 am -- 10:00 am, but check with Task Force Chairperson Steven Balogh at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm meeting details. Meetings are free and open to the public. Visit www.mundeleinstandup.org for more information.