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STAND students take part in Sticker SHOCK! initiative

Students pose with the stickers with staff of Austin Liquor, owned by Rodrigo Gonz. Photo provided

A field trip for high school students to a liquor store may seem unusual unless, you know why they are doing it.

Nearly two dozen STAND (Students Taking A New Direction) were loaded into two school vans and two Austin Police vehicles to journey to six of the seven liquor stores in Austin.  The students were on a mission to thank area patrons for NOT providing alcohol to minors.

Students went armed with stickers, bottle hangers and door clings to share the positive message as well as a simple reminder that it is illegal to provide alcohol to minors.  The students entered the stores under the supervision of adult advisors and school resource officers to apply the stickers to the cases of cans as well as hanging reminders on the bottled merchandise. The students were only there for a few minutes,  but hope to share the message of thanks in advance for helping students make healthy and smart choices.  Liquor store managers and owners were contacted weeks ahead of the visit to prepare for the community prevention project and welcomed the positive messages to their customers.

Sophomore Marion Weke places stickers on bottles of liquor as part of Sticker SHOCK!, an initiative to help curve drinking among minors. Photo provided

“Raising awareness is the simplest prevention strategy we can do,” commented Justin Heskett, STAND Advisor.  “We call it Sticker SHOCK! Because people are NOT expecting a THANK YOU in advance for doing the right thing.”

STAND is a student group at Ellis Middle School, Pacelli Catholic Schools and Austin High School. The group has over 100 students that have pledged to make healthy choices and make positive changes in their schools as well as our community. The students meet twice a month and have at least one service project each month. In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in a statewide Youth Leadership Academy (YLA), which will take place during the month of March in Baxter, Minnesota. 

The stickers put on the bottles. Photo provided

To date, nearly 70 Austin students have been able to attend the leadership academy, which has several workshops to help them to develop into community/school leaders. STAND is open to all students.  STAND has five adult advisors; Justin Heskett, Jake Nelson, Lea Oelfke, Raquel Imbert and Laura Sheedy.

STAND and Sticker SHOCK! were made possible because of a P & I grant, a five-year grant focusing on Positive Community Norms. Bill Spitzer is the Planning and Implementation (P & I) Coordinator working closely with local leaders that make up a group called APAC (Austin Positive Action Coalition). Feel free to contact him if you would like to help our youth continue to make healthy and responsible choices.  APAC has an office at the Austin High School 507-460-1800 ext. 0361 or via e-mail bill.spitzer@austin.k12.mn.us.This grant is made possible by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Behavioral Health Division and hosted locally by the PRC (Parenting Resource Center). To learn more about the Parenting Resource, visit their website at www.prc-austinmn.org/