The Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership has honored two schools, a community organization and a pair of advisors for their efforts to promote youth leadership while leading alcohol and drug prevention initiatives.
The FNL chapters at Clinton-Mendenhall Elementary School and Hare High School in the Garden Grove Unified School District were both named recipients of the program’s Chapter Excellence Award, as was the community-based Project Access chapter.
Cynthia Ting, the FNL advisor at Magnolia High School in Anaheim, and Pamela Sepulveda, the advisor of the Casa Youth Shelter’s Youth Leadership Program, were each 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. In doing so, it promotes leadership, communication, team-building and problem-solving.
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. The partnership is funded by the OC Health Care Agency’s Alcohol and Drug Education and Prevention Team.
This year’s winners were announced on May 15. Here’s a closer look at each.
Chapter Excellence Award Recipients
Clinton-Mendenhall Elementary School, Friday Night Live Kids
The Friday Night Live (FNL) Kids chapter at Clinton-Mendenhall Elementary School in the Garden Grove Unified School District includes 23 elementary students and is led by advisor Teresa Jackson. This year, there has been impressive growth in this FNL chapter’s youth leadership and community collaboration, and the students have demonstrated a passion for making a positive impact in their school and community.
Clinton FNL Kids collaborated with the Friday Night Live chapter at nearby Santiago High School to conduct alcohol and drug prevention activities with the student body. In addition, the chapter established a relationship with the Garden Grove Police Department to co-facilitate school-wide presentations on healthy choices and bullying prevention.
Hare High School, Friday Night Live
Hare High School in Garden Grove Unified implements Friday Night Live to support substance use prevention as part of the Associated Student Body class. Led by advisor Tam Do, this class of 10 students has exemplified outstanding leadership over the course of the school year while addressing important issues on campus.
Hare High FNL members focused their prevention efforts primarily on the issue of vaping, reaching out to peers and families. The chapter conducted a school-wide assessment on the attitudes and perceptions of vaping and identified strong social acceptance. They decided it was important to address the myths about vaping and share information on the potential harmful effects.
Hare FNL provided a vaping education workshop to the entire student body and partnered with the Orange County Department of Education to provide a parent education workshop.
Project Access Park Vista Apartments, Friday Night Live Kids
Based in Anaheim, the Project Access site is a community-based FNL Kids chapter located in the Park Vista Apartments. Led by advisors Dan O’Rourke and Saida Sanchez, this small but mighty chapter has become a positive force within the community.
This year, members planned and facilitated family engagement events to support building the protective factors of family and community bonding. Members also focused their efforts on bullying prevention by creating and providing a presentation for their community members.
In addition, they partnered with the Orange County Health Care Agency’s Tobacco Use Prevention Program to conduct PhotoVoice, a research project that leverages photography to promote positive social change.
Advisor Excellence Award Recipients
Cynthia Ting, Magnolia High School
Cynthia Ting, the FNL advisor at Magnolia High School in the Anaheim Union High School District, has a long history with Friday Night Live that began when she was a high school student and FNL member at Hogan High School in Vallejo, California.
During her time as an advisor, she has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to ensuring that her members receive the full FNL experience, often working weekends so she can support the youth-led activities that her chapter plans and facilitates.
Ting does an exceptional job of establishing meaningful connections with her students and FNL members, who often refer to her as “Tita Ting.” (Tita means Aunt in Tagalog.) Her chapter has provided education to merchants on practices to reduce youth access to alcohol, developed public service announcements to reduce online gambling, and supported tobacco use prevention efforts on campus.
During the recent school closures, she has hosted weekly virtual meetings for her FNL members so they continue to feel connected. Cynthia exemplifies the mission of FNL. Not only does she promote growth and leadership within her chapter, she serves as an excellent mentor and role model for all young people.
Pamela Sepulveda, Casa Youth Shelter’s Youth Leadership Program
Pamela Sepulveda is the FNL advisor for Casa Youth Shelter’s Youth Leadership Program. Every Monday evening, Sepulveda energizes and engages a group of nearly 40 members to plan and facilitate youth-led projects in the community of Los Alamitos and surrounding areas.
Her vibrant energy is abundant in each interaction with her FNL members, and she inspires all to take an active role in improving their community. Sepulveda has the unique ability to ensure that all members feel heard and have the opportunity to participate in meaningful ways.
Within her chapter, both in-person and now virtually, she has supported several highly impactful youth-led projects that promote alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention within the community. These include Four Corners workshops for youth and Reality Party for parents, both of which use dramatic skits and audience discussions to highlight the dangers of underage drinking and substance use. Each year, Sepulveda continues to demonstrate how powerful youth and adult partnerships can impact a community.
For more information about the Orange County Friday Night Live Partnership, contact OCDE Coordinator Elke Petras at 714-966-4458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.