Weeyaya Brown, a freshman at Chiloquin Junior/Senior High School, peeled off bright yellow stickers and carefully placed them on beer bottles in coolers at Clyde’s Market in Chiloquin.
The stickers remind shoppers that supplying alcohol to minors is illegal.
“It’s very important to me because I know people who have struggled with alcohol, and I know people who buy alcohol for teenagers,” said Brown, a member of the Klamath Tribal Youth Council, who leads the outreach project. “That’s what helps create dependencies. I don’t want people to waste their lives.
Brown was joined in her efforts this week by two dozen classmates, who volunteered to take part in the Think Twice Sticker Shock campaign. The aim is to raise awareness among minors about alcohol consumption and to ask adults to “think twice” before buying alcohol for minors, which is a crime. The stickers say:
“Think twice: Purchasing alcohol for minors is illegal. Underage drinking can be dangerous. This is a Class A misdemeanor with up to 364 days in jail and fines over $6,000 Be the positive influence our youth need.
Forming teams, the Chiloquin teenagers made short work of placing “Think Twice” stickers on every bottle, can and case of beer and wine at Clyde’s Market. This year they are expanding the campaign to stores in Klamath Falls. The campaign started in Chiloquin more than five years ago.
Approximately 45 Chiloquin students are participating in the campaign this year. Seventh and eighth graders put stickers on alcoholic beverages last week at the Crater Lake Junction Travel Center.
Preston Lewis, Senior Youth Initiative Coordinator for the Klamath Tribes, helped organize the event. A 2018 graduate of Chiloquin Junior/Senior High School, he participated in the campaign as a student.
“I felt really emotional in my youth, so I just wanted to guide the next generation,” he said. “I believe it makes a difference.”
Members of the Klamath Tribal Youth Council, the Dic’ii yawqs (Good Medicine) team at the Klamath Tribal Youth and Family Guidance Center, and Klamath County Public Health submitted a proclamation to Klamath County Commissioners and Council Municipality of Klamath Falls asking them to declare March and April Alcohol Awareness Month in Klamath County.
The proclamation clearly explains how alcohol affects both young people and adults in the county, stating in particular:
- 22% of adults have consumed alcohol in the past year.
- 16% of eighth graders and 14% of middle schoolers have had at least one alcoholic drink in the past 30 days
- 45% of these eighth graders and 34% of these juniors received the alcohol with the permission of parents or guardians.
Shayla Ochoa, a Klamath Tribal Youth Council member and sophomore from Chiloquin, was among the group that met with county commissioners earlier this month, asking for their support.
“It’s definitely a problem,” she said, referring to underage drinking. “We also put banners with the stickers.”
Felicia McNair, prevention coordinator for the Klamath Tribal Health Youth and Family Guidance Center, was with students at Clyde’s Market on Wednesday. She said the campaign is twofold. It sends a message to adults and impacts the students who participate.
“It gives them the opportunity to stop and think that they won’t have someone buy for them and as they get older they won’t be bought for minors,” she said. declared.