Fulton County Residents Coming Together To “Be A Model” & Spread Facts About Underage Drinking

BAM_billboard_2-InstaWauseon, OH – If you traveled around Fulton County over the last few months you might have noticed some signs and billboards asking for “models”. Forty-six youth and twenty-one adults accepted the call of Healthy Choices Caring Communities (HC3) to “Be A Model”. Perception is key and after asking middle school and high school students to estimate the number of underage youth who consumed alcohol, HC3 knew the facts needed to get out!

Those middle school and high school students that were asked to estimate the number of underage youth who consume alcohol responded with a range from 70 % – 90%; while many youth and adults would believe those estimations, the reality, according to the Fulton County Health Assessment (2012), is only 15% of all youth, ages 12 – 18, have had a alcoholic drink in the past 30 days which increases to 30% in youth ages 17 and older. The “Be a Model Campaign” took form as a way to communicate those facts. “We wanted an engaging and fun way to let people know that the MAJORITY of youth in Fulton County, do make healthy choices when it comes to underage alcohol use, and so the concept of the “Be a Model” Campaign was born” comments HC3 Program Director, Beth Thomas.

Lots of time and energy from staff, coalition members and youth went into making this a unique campaign getting Fulton County’s attention. The “Be a Model Campaign” was designed to occur in four waves of messaging.

The first wave planned to create curiosity with the statement, “Looking for models…” with the HC3 website as the only “clue” for additional information. Our website sported a classified ad in which we advertised for models… role models to stand up for what they believed.

The second wave of messaging was intended to create some reflection asking the question…Are you a model? HC3 invests time, energy and finances in creating leaders, one community at a time. We want everyone to know that anyone can be a model for someone else, standing up for what you believe.

The third wave of messaging was the most fun and a great way to create awareness of HC3’s mission, strategies and activities. In January, we recruited adult and youth role models from the different communities across the county. When asked if they would be a “model”, some were pretty sure they didn’t fit the mold.

Questionnaires were completed about what motivated them to be a role model, about their personal life and their advice to others about becoming a role model. We shared each of our model’s “backstory” along with their pictures. In each community, banners and posters picturing some of the many models from that particular community could be seen by all. The youth models enjoyed seeing their pictures on billboards across the county.

The fourth wave of messaging was the call to action. “Be a model”. Those who were a part of the campaign were able to express their way of being a leader. No matter where you go or what you do there is always an opportunity to “Be a Model”
For more information about HC3 please contact Beth Thomas at 419-337-0915 or email at HC3partnership@gmail.com. Follow us on Facebook (Healthy Choices Caring Communities) and Twitter (HC3Partnership) for updates.

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