HYPE students find ways to connect with peers

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By Cassandra West

By the end of this school year, HYPE students will have presented 105 workshops in various classes at OPRF. Currently HYPE has three workshops that peer educators are trained to present: "Husky Strong" teaches four key healthy habits for physical, mental, and social well-being; "The Blunt Truth" teaches the physical, mental, and social effects of marijuana use; and "Friends Helping Friends" teaches a five-step process to intervene and help a friend with a mental health challenge, substance use, or unhealthy dating relationship.

Last October, HYPE organized and led The Sticker Shock Project, a community awareness project aimed at reducing underage drinking by reducing youth access to alcohol. Leading up to homecoming weekend last fall, HYPE collaborated with Oak Park Township to create and place stickers on over 1,000 bottles and cases of alcohol in two busy grocery stores in Oak Park and River Forest to remind adults that "it is illegal to provide alcohol to a person under 21." The stickers also encouraged adults "to keep OPRF teens healthy and alcohol-free."

HYPE also sponsors weeklong activities to raise awareness about the risks of drug and alcohol use.  Red Ribbon Week activities included handing out red ribbons, collecting pledges to make healthy choices, hosting a healthy selfie contest, running a "Get the WHEEL Facts" trivia game, and sponsoring a community fundraiser.

"We did Red Ribbon Week, a drug and alcohol awareness week" held in October, said Monica Bradford, a sophomore member. "We had games and trivia during lunch period so that people could win things while also educating themselves about the health risks of alcohol and drugs." 

HYPE students are planning a De-Stress Fest in May to promote healthy ways to manage stress during finals.

SAY Connects is sponsored by the Good Heart Work Smart Foundation in partnership with Success for All Youth (SAY).

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