‘Brain Campaign’: Dover Youth to Youth students educate downtown visitors on alcohol’s effect on the young mind

by Dover Police Charities

By LAURENNE RAMSDELL

Article from Fosters.com – http://fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120712/GJNEWS_01/707129719
Thursday, July 12, 2012

DOVER — More than 70 dedicated youths rallied downtown Wednesday afternoon in hopes of raising awareness about the effects of alcohol on the brain.

As part of a new initiative known as the Brain Campaign, students who are part of Dover’s Youth to Youth prevention program held signs and oversized pictures of the human brain while they explained the types of detrimental ways the developing brain can be affected by alcohol consumption.

“Alcohol doesn’t make our community any better,” said 11-year-old Michael Merone as he held a sign along with his peers in the courtyard in front of the Cochecho Millworks Building.

At 11 years old, Hannah Jelley said she is well aware of the types of negative impact that drinking can have on her still developing brain. Hannah explained that studies show the human brain doesn’t stop growing until the age of 25, noting that consuming alcohol before then can have an impact on the way a brain develops.

The students combed Central Avenue, handing out palm-sized informational cards containing facts about how alcohol affects the brain.

“We’re fighting for a cause,” said 10-year-old Alejandra Arguello.

The students told passers-by how alcohol can cause a person’s brain to malfunction, resulting in loss of balance and coordination and in some cases even causing the heart to stop.

“We just want everyone to be safe, because alcohol affects the whole brain,” said Emma Fee, 11.

Some students held giant cardboard cutouts of the human brain, standing next to other students who held signs advertising the negative ways that alcohol can affect the mind.

Once all 70 students gathered in the courtyard together, they began chanting the phrase “Alcohol and kids don’t mix. It’s a problem we can fix” over and over again as loud as they could. Their message could be heard throughout the heart of the city, drawing business owners out of their shops to take a peek at what the Youth to Youth students were talking about.

“By raising awareness of the brain damaging things alcohol contains, we’re really hoping to influence and inform our community in a positive way,” said 11-year-old Hannah Martuscello.

Some students held signs reading “Alcohol affects it all” and “You only get one brain,” while others held signs with the phrase “Think before you drink.”

Aside from the rally held downtown Wednesday, John Nash, 10, explained he and his peers will also be holding what he called a “sticker shock” project as part of the Brain Campaign. He explained that they will bring stickers covered with information about the dangers of youth consumption with them when visiting stores, sticking them onto containers of alcohol to share their message as much as possible.

For more information on the Brain Campaign and all of the other prevention initiatives hosted by Dover’s Youth to Youth program, visit www.doveryouth.com.

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