East County Youth Coalition members advocate against alcohol exposure for peers

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Youngsters and alcohol do not mix well. That is the message pressed by teenage members of the East County Youth Coalition to their peers, and on behalf of their peers to adults who might influence the young to adopt temperate life habits.

Youngsters and alcohol do not mix well. That is the message pressed by teenage members of the East County Youth Coalition to their peers, and on behalf of their peers to adults who might influence the young to adopt temperate life habits.

Most of the ECYC group’s members are students at Monte Vista High School in Spring Valley, and their primary focus is to reduce alcohol use and binge drinking among teenagers through advocacy and information campaigns. Five members of the organization brought their message to the Valle de Oro Community Planning Group meeting on June 2.

The ECYC representatives prepared a presentation about a field study four group members conducted in February, assessing area alcohol retailers’ compliance with California laws and standards.

These study found 19 liquor stores within a mile and a half radius of four local schools, including their high school, two elementary schools and a middle school. They described the typical route that schoolchildren walk to classes as passing by 12 of these area liquor stores.

It examined the stores for such compliance matters as amount of advertising, visibility of the cash register (which is required), and presence of “No Loitering” signs. They described their findings as showing that none of these 12 Spring Valley liquor stores were in total compliance with California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control retail operating standards. They reported the most common violation was too much advertising obstructing store windows.

“We are especially vulnerable at this age. We are forming who we are and who we will turn into. We want to be getting the word out,” said Nicole Robershaw. 

The community planners could not call an official meeting that night, for lack of a quorum. However, community representatives in attendance were interested in pursuing the findings the ECYC members described. The ECYC members who are high school juniors will be returning next year to urge community planners to weigh in carefully on new or revised alcohol license applications around Spring Valley.

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