Levittown Y.O.U.T.H. Educates Island Trees Middle School Students on the Prevention of Substance Use in High School

On May 24th, Levittown students, Alexa Petito, Jessie Marousek, and McKenzie McKenna from MacArthur High School, and Julianna Ryley and Vidhi Patel from Division Ave, collaborated with the Island Trees School District and student Jeyda Sefket to facilitate a presentation on “High School Truths” for 8th grade students at Island Trees Middle School. The presenters are officers in the LYOUTH coalition, which operates with an aim to create positive change in the Levittown community by raising awareness about the risks and consequences of drug and alcohol use among youth and helping to reduce access to these substances.

The presentation utilized a social norms approach that aimed to open a dialogue with middle school students on the reality of youth substance use with specific attention to the fact that most students do not use alcohol or other substances in high school. Students discussed the risk factors for underage drinking, presented data from past youth survey results that support that most students do not drink in high school, and provided positive coping skills that will allow them to be drug-free in high school. LYOUTH students hope to continue offering this presentation to the Levittown and Island Trees middle schools in the fall.

The group is also responsible for creating morning announcements throughout the course of May which was Mental Health Awareness Month. These announcements were read over the loudspeaker for 5 days and addressed testing, budgeting time, self-love, healthy coping mechanisms, and resources for mental health services in the school and community. The LYOUTH students hope these tips and tricks encourage healthy habits and equip their fellow students with the tools necessary to deal with life’s challenges without the use of substances.

LYOUTH is overseen by Levittown Community Action Coalition (LCAC) operating out of YES Community Counseling Center with a mission to create a safe, healthy, and secure community through the prevention of substance misuse. LCAC is grateful for their close partnership with the Levittown and Island Trees School District which has granted the opportunity to utilize peer-to- peer programming as a way to connect with youth in the Levittown community.

The eighth grade students at Island Trees Middle School learned that most high school students do not use alcohol.
Division students making the most out of the hybrid presentation format.

MacArthur students delivering the presentation via Zoom.