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TNCAP tags bottles with Lehman students to curb underage drinking

Bronx Times
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The Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership has been tagging bottles for years, to curb teen drinking. But for the first time, some teenagers actually have joined in.

On Wednesday, December 14, four Lehman High School Arista Honor Society scholars joined Loretta MacKnight of TNCAP to visit stores that sell beer near their school, and place tags on some bottles that remind adults not to buy alcohol for minors.

The students also took visual surveys of neighborhood stores to assess how alcohol is marketed to young people through prominently-displayed posters and signs.

The students reached out to TNCAP about getting involved in the program when MacKnight spoke at one of their group meetings. The Arista society members participate in numerous volunteer and community service projects throughout the year, so they thought the bottle tagging program would be a perfect opportunity.

“I think the abuse of alcohol is really prominent in our society, not just with parents, but also with minors,” junior Kimberly Cionca said.

Classmate Lindita Nuculli said the idea of responsible consumption hit home.

“The message spoke to me,” she said. “I have underage friends that have gotten into accidents and passed away through drinking and driving. And some stores don’t even check I.D.s”

And student Jay Soni said that, from his perspective, beer companies unabashedly market towards him and his peers.

“You see advertisements in bodegas and grocery stores that have ladies holding beverages that clearly appeal to young men,” he said.

And junior Evyenia Plevritis, who lives in Throggs Neck, said that she sees the affects of underage drinking in her own neighborhood.

“Walking around at night with my parents, we see broken beer bottles, and I’m pretty sure that is a result of young people drinking,” she said. “I think bottle tagging can change that in a positive way”

Lehman teacher Anthony Cerini coordinates the Arista program.

“As a teen growing up in this area it was pretty simple if kids wanted to get their hands on the stuff,” he said. “This will probably give (adults) a little reminder that the community cares.”

Four stores agreed to participate in the bottle tagging.

McKnight said the program both helped curtail underage drinking and showed that the participating stores were good neighbors.

“It has a double effect,” she said. “It makes people aware and it shows (the stores) are responsible merchants.”

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at wweisbrod@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394.
Posted 12:00 am, January 1, 2012
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