The Great Northeast Athletic Conference Forms New Partnership With The Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force
By Melissa Maitland
GNAC Sports Information Specialist
The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) and the Allston-Brighton Substance Abuse Task Force (ABSATF) are proud to announce a new partnership. This joint venture will allow the GNAC to assist the ABSATF in its mission to educate the Allston-Brighton community about the dangers of underage drinking and substance abuse. "A lot of people don't talk about the issues of drug and alcohol abuse until a tragedy occurs. We wanted to get involved with the Task Force to bring awareness and education to the people who are affected most by substance abuse, college students," said Vaughn Calhoun, GNAC Assistant Commissioner.
The ABSATF chose to partner with the GNAC because many GNAC student-athletes live in or around the Allston-Brighton area. "We are working with GNAC student athletes who want to be positive role models for their peers and show that not all students choose to drink. We want to dispel the false notion that ‘everybody's drinking,'" said Elizabeth Parsons, ABSATF Community Coordinator. Student-athletes from local GNAC members Emerson, Emmanuel, Lasell, Mt. Ida, Pine Manor, Simmons, and Suffolk will benefit from the ABSATF's resources and can then educate their peers about preventing and reducing underage drinking and other substance abuse.
The GNAC will join the ABSATF in launching a social norms campaign, which is used to promote healthy lifestyles and to educate individuals that underage drinking is not, in fact, the norm. As part of this campaign, the GNAC and ABSATF are working together to develop a slogan that will be printed on 1,000 t-shirts. The GNAC anticipates giving away these t-shirts at a future athletic event, such as a basketball game. Fans in attendance, as well as student-athletes, will then have the opportunity to receive a t-shirt that will help to spread the message that the majority of college students do not drink or abuse substances.
The ABSATF is a coalition of community agencies and residents whose goal is to mobilize youth, families, community members and leaders, in order to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth and adults in the community. The ABSATF aims to:
- educate people about substance abuse;
- encourage alternative activities for youth;
- provide resources and support to families and community members;
- raise awareness about substance abuse;
- change community norms about substance abuse;
- engage the community in efforts to effect a positive change; and
- provide support, treatment, and recovery services and goals.
Now in its sixth year, the ABSATF also serves as a community resource, helping people find assistance regarding drug and alcohol abuse, as well as to educate students on issues that affect them, such as social host liability laws which penalize those who provide alcohol for minors. The ABSATF holds monthly meetings that are attended by representatives from local colleges and universities. The GNAC would like for all seven local GNAC member schools to have a student-athlete representative at these meetings so that they can learn how to educate their peers about substance abuse.
For more information on the ABSATF, please visit www.abdrugfree.org.