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Nashville, TN

Bethlehem Centers of Nashville

Bethlehem Centers of Nashville (BCN), a national mission agency of the United Methodist Church, provides education, direction, and service that lead to self-reliance for all participants and clients. The BCN Too Smart To Start team in Nashville provides a variety of comprehensive education and community outreach activities focusing on prevention for children, their parents, and the community.

The Too Smart To Start team focuses its efforts on 9- to 13-year-olds in area schools and youth-serving organizations through interactive classroom activities where Too Smart To Start materials and resources as well as Project Alcohol Free: Reach for the Stars—a science-based alcohol prevention curriculum that teaches youth the skills and strategies needed to resist pressures and establish anti-drug norms—are used. The team also provides youth with the opportunity to participate in poster campaign art projects, open houses, Olympic Day Fest for youth campers, and other positive activities, while using the Too Smart To Start messages and materials to heighten youth awareness about underage alcohol use. To improve communication and increase interaction between youth and their parents, the team has developed a Too Smart To Start information packet that includes information on the harms of underage alcohol use and communication methods that parents can use when talking with their children about underage alcohol use.

The team reaches out to the community and increases public disapproval of underage alcohol use. Team members participate in various community awareness events throughout the year, such as family days, health fairs, local sporting activities, and symposiums, where messages and materials about underage alcohol use prevention and the Too Smart To Start initiative are shared. To promote their efforts, the team also has partnered with media such as area newspapers, radio stations, and community access television in the Nashville area. Dissemination channels used by the team include billboards, art/poster exhibitions at the Nashville Adventure Science Center and the First Center for Visual Arts, Too Smart To Start advertisements posted at area businesses, and literature generated by BCN.

Nashville Prevention Partnership

The Nashville Prevention Partnership (NPP) is a community anti-drug coalition consisting of more than 300 organizations and individuals in Nashville. With the Alcohol & Drug Council of Middle Tennessee serving as the lead agency, NPP strives to bring together agencies, organizations, and individuals together to reduce and prevent the problems associated with substance abuse. The Too Smart To Start team coordinates activities and events with schools, communities, faith-based organizations, and service providers to reach out to 9- to 13-year-olds, their parents, and the community in participating service areas in Nashville.

In partnership with local schools and youth-serving organizations, the NPP Too Smart To Start team works to increase youth awareness of the harms of underage alcohol use. Teachers, school staff, and program staff are trained on how to conduct a series of lessons that address the risks of underage drinking in a classroom setting. Part of the lesson series involves Too Smart To Start’s Ready, Set, Listen! board game, which was created to encourage communication between parents and their children. In addition, the team, along with interested community stakeholders, designed and planned an event to be held at each participating middle school to allow parents to engage in meaningful activities with their children. The community will take ownership of the events by creating a plan that they feel will help create more awareness of the harms of underage alcohol use.

In the broader Nashville area, the NPP team enlists the aid of the media in its efforts to promote community awareness of the harms of underage alcohol use and to encourage parents to make alcohol less available to their children. Media outlets include newspapers, radio, billboards, and television. In addition, artwork and billboards that students created are displayed at the Nashville Public Library.

Nashville Billboard Photo

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