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On Thursdayy, Feb. 16, 2017, a red carpet event will take place to premiere ten public service announcements (PSAs) developed by sixteen Summit County youth. Over 200 people are set to attend the event which will showcase the PSA’s set to air in local cinemas next week.
The students from schools throughout Summit County wrote and starred in the PSA’a which will air in local Cinemark theaters this spring. Topics covered in the PSA’a range from education about addiction, opiates and heroin to recognizing warning signs and were recorded at the University of Akron’s ZTV studio.
Their goal was to create messages that will resonate with youth and prevent them from experimenting with prescription medicines or heroin. Age of first use is an important factor in the development of substance use. Preventing or delaying youth from experimenting with substances helps to decrease the likelihood of more serious problems later in life.
Last year the Leadership Akron Class 32 developed the Opiate Epidemic Impact Grant as the focus for its 2016 philanthropy project. The grant was designed for a collaborative effort to take on a project that addresses the opiate epidemic. The grant to fund the PSA’s was made possible by United Way of Summit County and Leadership Akron Class 32. Each year, United Way funds the Philanthropy Project with the Leadership Akron Signature Program class to provide them a first-hand opportunity to exercise philanthropy and community impact. “This project showcases the heartbeat of Crew 32, incorporating things they came to care deeply about during their year together,” said Mark Scheffler, President of Leadership Akron. “In focusing their investment through a lens of collaboration, they fostered a partnership to reduce the impact of the opiate epidemic, a human tragedy that stirred their leadership during their year together in Leadership Akron.”
The grant was awarded to a collaborative effort with representatives from Community Health Center - Project PANDA; the County of Summit ADM Board; Ohio Guidestone; and Summit County Community Partnership for the Healthy Rx for Youth campaign. The proposal was built around several evidenced-based research practices including social norming campaigns and youth-led prevention aimed at reducing availability and access. Social norming campaigns highlight the fact that four out of five youth do not abuse prescriptions. Youth-led prevention activities are effective because research has shown that youth tend to give other youth voices more respect and attention than adults. Reducing access and availability is an effective public health strategy for reducing alcohol and drug abuse.
Darryl Brake, Executive Director of Summit County Community Partnership, comments on the project, “We are grateful to Leadership Akron for recognizing the value of youth led prevention. It is a sound investment through establishing meaningful youth involvement in a community prevention effort. These talented students stretched their imagination and creativity for this project and deserve our appreciation. I encourage the public to join us at the Red Carpet premiere to recognize their exceptional work.”
Summa Health System is sponsoring the February 16th event which will feature recognition of the involved youth, a screening of each of the 10 PSA’a and a participant vote for the “Viewer’s Choice” award. It will take place at the Professional Center South on the Akron campus at 55 Arch Street, Akron, Ohio from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public but pre-registration is requested and cocktail attire preferred. Registration is open through Eventbrite: www.eventbrite.com/e/red-carpet-premiere-we-are-the-future-of-summit-county-psas-tickets-31490896118