Lake Placid students raise awareness about risky behavior - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Lake Placid students raise awareness about risky behavior

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Teens, driving, recklessness and alcohol, it's a dangerous mix and it's this potentially lethal combination that concerns ninth-grader Gabriella Armstrong. She's worried about her friends and peers at Lake Placid Middle/High School.

"Identify the problems that go on in our community and then we try to come up with ways to educate the community about the problems and then ways to solve them," said Gabriella Armstrong.

Armstrong is part of "Connecting Youth and Communities" known as CYC. It's a local group that teaches the young people to care about where they live and to stay away from drugs and alcohol. Tina Clark helps run the place.

"We're certainly concerned," said Clark.

Clark says the school has a problem with students using marijuana and drinking alcohol.

"Came together about 12 years ago now to talk about the fact that the youth have access to alcohol, and to try to change the environment that allows that to be a fact," said Clark.

Instead of identifying students who might be considered at-risk, CYC takes a different approach.

"We look at what are the community norms that contribute to the youth engaging in this kind of risky behavior and then we combat those," said Mary Dietrich, the president of CYC.

This past week, CYC had a rally on the school lawn about safe driving.

"Say if they've been in a car crash or if they know someone who's been in a car crash and put a sticker up on the wall. And pretty much everybody in the school did that," said Armstrong.

Now that we're in prom and graduation season, parents and teachers in Lake Placid want to remind students about the dangers of reckless driving. For CYC's Arrive Alive campaign, members are checking to make sure student drivers are buckled up.

"Had one student that wasn't wearing a seat belt, and he was counseled," said Clark.

CYC members also bring their message out of the school and into the village of Lake Placid.

"ID checkers and we gave out four to local establishments to help with the prevention of underage drinking for the youth trying to get into the bars," said Carol Hayes, the CYC development director.

CYC meetings are held after school once a week. Between 15-20 ninth through 12th-graders usually attend. One CYC member is working on a film to spread the word about CYC.

"The film is basically to capture how scary and graphic distracted driving can be," said Trevor Knapp, a student.

This summer, several CYC members will be going to Orlando to connect with other young community leaders.

"A conference where we'll interact with other young community members and get ideas to bring back to the community," said Erin Skufca, a student.

CYC is federally funded with nearly $200,000 a year with grants from "Drug Free Communities" and "Stop-Act." CYC organizers say they have a good feeling the group will grow.

"We're transitioning away from adult lead organization to one that's student led and I think the more we have the students involved at a leadership level, I think the more effective the program will be," said Dietrich.

CYC students say they will continue to be a part of the group through the rest of their high school career and encourage both youth and adults to make healthy decisions.

You can check out upcoming CYC events by clicking here.

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