New Britain middle, high school students encouraged to enter video contest aimed at raising awareness on substance abuse

NEW BRITAIN – All New Britain middle and high school youth who are handy with a camera are encouraged to join in on a video contest aiming to help raise awareness on substance abuse.

“We want to get creative about youth prevention and spread the word,” said Mallory Deprey, the city’s director of Community Services. Deprey also spearheads the Local Prevention Council, who is hosting the contest as part of National Prevention Week in May.

National Prevention Week, from May 10 to 16, is a public education platform that promotes prevention year-round and makes substance use prevention happen every day. Due to the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the city’s annual prevention rally has been canceled. But to replace the physical rally, council members have come up with the idea of hosting a video contest the youth can submit through various social media platforms that will help both celebrate the week and raise awareness about substance abuse prevention.

By having the youth create the content, this will keep them engaged and be more authentic not only to themselves, but for the content to also resonate with their peers, said Karol Steczkowski, creative director of Axim Design.

There will be prizes and daily themes participants are asked to create video content for. The dates and themes include: Monday, May 11, Preventing Prescription Drug and Opioid Misuse; Tuesday, May 12, Preventing Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse; Wednesday, May 13, Preventing Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use, Thursday, May 14, Preventing Youth Tobacco Use (E-Cigarettes and Vaping), Friday, May 15, Preventing Suicide.

Based on a limited supply, early submissions will receive a $25 gift card. There will be six winners total, three each from the high school and middle school level. First place is a laptop, second place is an Apple iPad, and the third place prize is a Chromebook.

“The key is to get our youth to create, inspire and win,” Steczkowski said. “This is a great opportunity to use the time they have to do something that’s both creative and inspiring. And by engaging them directly, it avoids things getting lost in translation and shortens that generational gap.

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