OC Friday Night Live Partnership honors two school chapters, one advisor from Garden Grove

The Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership recently honored a pair of clubs from Garden Grove high schools as well as a local advisor for their efforts to promote youth leadership and facilitate alcohol and other drug prevention projects that benefit students, schools and communities.

The FNL chapters at Santiago and Bolsa Grande high schools in the Garden Grove Unified School District were both named recipients of the Chapter Excellence Award at the annual OCFNLP Chapter Recognition Event, which was held at Chapman University on May 10. Tam Do, the FNL advisor at GGUSD’s Hare Continuation High School, was presented with the Advisor Excellence Award.

Administered by OCDE, the Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership encourages young people to take the lead on alcohol and drug prevention campaigns at school and in their communities. At the same time, it promotes leadership, communication, team-building and problem-solving.

The partnership is funded by the county Health Care Agency’s Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Team. Its programs include Friday Night Live chapters at the high school level, Club Live groups at the middle school level and Friday Night Live Kids in the upper elementary grades.

Here’s a little more about this year’s honorees:

Bolsa Grande High School FNL

The Bolsa Grande High School FNL chapter is made up of 20 motivated youth leaders who use creative and innovative means to encourage positive health behaviors among their fellow students. This highly organized group mapped out the entire school year to identify monthly health promotion topics for which to advocate on campus. Examples include alcohol and drug prevention, mental health, bullying prevention and traffic safety.

To get the message out, FNL students write monthly articles for the school’s website and push information out through social media. They also conduct outreach events during lunch and through presentations to students and parents. This year, the chapter received funding from the California Office of Traffic Safety and used the allocations to promote safe driving habits. A signature event was the weeklong Parking Lot Patrol. FNL members rewarded students for safe driving and collected data on driving behaviors. That information was presented to parents, and it guided a rally and activities for Distracted Driving Prevention Week.

Bolsa Grande’s FNL group also conducts community service activities for homeless populations and supports the Assistance League thrift store. They have become well known at Jordan Intermediate School, where this year they provided lessons on conflict resolution to younger students.

Santiago High School FNL

The FNL chapter at Santiago High School is a major presence on campus, drawing an average of 40 students to each meeting. At the beginning of the school year, the group formed a committee to identify a focus for the year and selected vaping as an area of concern. The FNL members collected more than 1,400 surveys from students to gather input on attitudes about vaping. They used this data to conduct presentations for parents that focused on the significance of communication and the role parents can take in addressing substance use with their children. They also used the opportunity with parents to conduct before-and-after surveys on perceptions of vaping and how comfortable they were speaking to their children on the subject. The information gathered will help guide future projects.

Leaders from Santiago High’s FNL group also facilitated a workshop at the Ensure Justice Conference at Vanguard University on best practices to engage youth in prevention efforts. In addition, the group collaborates with its feeder elementary and intermediate schools and has built relationships allowing them to present annually at other campuses. This year, they provided media literacy presentations to educate younger students on alcohol, marijuana and vaping marketing strategies.

Tam Do, FNL advisor

Tam Do with Elke PetrasTam Do has been the FNL advisor at Hare Continuation High School for the past five years. He strives for each of his students to attain the ultimate youth development experience with his leadership class and FNL club.

Do has the unique ability to challenge his students to go beyond their comfort zones so they can realize their true potential. Mr. Do shared that he chooses to serve as an FNL advisor because he firmly believes in the mission and feels the FNL program is especially valuable to young people in urban areas.

For more information on the Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership, visit www.ocde.us/ocfnlp. Or contact OCDE Program Specialist Elke Petras at 714-966-4458 or epetras@ocde.us.