Event seeks to discourage underage drinking

Lars Lonnroth , Assistant News Editor

At the Mariano’s in Garden Market, a group of teenagers affiliated with the Coalition for a Drug Free Lyons Township walked the aisles of alcoholic beverages on April 25, having no intention of purchasing the beverages. The teens instead aimed to do the exact opposite: preventing the purchase of alcohol for individuals who legally should not drink it.

“We realized a lot of parents are not educated about the laws when it comes to underage drinking, so we think this is an important event to educate and to acknowledge the fact that alcohol is prevalent in our community,” participant Charlotte Trecartin ‘18 said.

Trecartin, a member of the Coalition for a Drug Free Lyons Township’s Youth Task Force which organized the event, said that the demonstration—which was sanctioned by Mariano’s—was intended to show that the use of alcohol as a teenager is not “rite of passage,” and there are teenagers who want to encourage an alcohol-free lifestyle.

The group hung signs on various bottles of alcohol encouraging shoppers to “keep our teens alcohol free” and implored shoppers not to purchase alcohol for underage individuals.

“We need to team up with our community to show other teens and parents that we are here to support teens living an alcohol and drug free lifestyle,” Trecartin said. “That is exactly what Mariano’s is doing with us.”

The event drew attendees from an array of different organizations such as the Village of Western Springs, members of the local business communities and a representative from congressman Dan Lipinski’s office.

“Congressman Lipinski had heard about the event and wanted to make sure that his support was shown to the students here,” Joshua Luke, Special Assistant to Congressman Lipinski, said. “He puts a lot of importance on public health, and the fact that these students are so focused on safety and this initiative made him want to make sure that his support was shown.”

Lipinski was in Washington when the event was taking place, so he could not attend the event himself, Luke said.

The April event took place during Alcohol Awareness month, and was a part of a larger concerted effort nationwide to advocate against the use of alcohol for individuals under the legal drinking age.

Alice Gallagher, president of the Western Springs Board of Trustees, said that the community “should do what we can to prevent underage drinking” and the fact that it lines up with Alcohol Awareness month makes the event all the more impactful.

“I think that this event is important, especially during Alcohol Awareness month,” Gallagher said. “There are so many dangers to underage drinking so I am fully supportive of what these kids are doing to keep their peers safe.”