The phrase “It takes a Village” is the cornerstone mentality of the TRACS (Together Reducing Alcohol and drugs in our Communities) Coalition. The coalition was formed to encourage a drug-free lifestyle for youth, to support families and to provide community-based pro-social alternatives. It began in 2008 in response to rising drug and alcohol issues in our communities and schools. A group of parents, teachers, administrators, law enforcers, youth leaders and other concerned community members conceived TRACS with the hopes of reducing the statistics of drug/ alcohol usage in our communities through education, communication and enforcement. Shortly after TRACS was formed, the Berlin chapter of Youth 2 Youth was implemented and the progress made has been remarkable ever since.
This year with the help of many sponsors, Berlin Y2Y was able to send 14 BCSD teens to conference. During this 4 day conference, nearly 600 teens from all over came together for an amazing experience combining games, workshops, team building events and guest speakers to inspire them to live drug and alcohol free lives. They participated in Family Groups in which they formed tight bonds with other teens that for some will last a life time. Teens did ” Dexterity Checks” that fostered pride and attended swim parties, dances and fun events that proved just how awesome some good old fashioned “drug-free” fun can be. When asked to describe their experiences in one word, the responses were, “amazing”, “life-changing”, “unforgettable” and “incredible”. In fact, there were many tears as conference ended.
As the teens returned home, their passion and commitment to share what they’d learned stayed strong. Since returning, they’ve hosted a sticker shock event (putting warning stickers on alcoholic beverages in stores to stop the sale to minors), posted kindness quotes at the Berlin MS/HS on lockers and mirrors in the bathrooms for back to school, and have performed several skits at the school to highlight the fact that MOST teens do NOT do drugs or drink (a common misconception). Up coming events are also being planned, such as a haunted house and teen dance, workshops to be held at the Y2Y summit, holiday community babysitting event, teen nights, etc. Throughout the year these teens volunteer their time and efforts to community fire house breakfasts and dinners, summer camps, sports clinics, school events and so much more.
So we thank our many sponsors for supporting these teens and Berlin Y2Y as a whole. Thank you Town of Berlin, Town of Stephentown, Town of Petersburgh, Scrubboard Laundromat, SB Cass Associates, Nick Adams, Thomas Berry, Brian Baker, Esq., Kathy Jimino, Rens. Co. Exec., Chris Meyer, Deputy Co Exec., David Buckley, Wyomanock Farm, Eagle Energy, Berry Patch, Allison Kirchner, Madden’s and Rocky Hill Country Store. Also, Y2Y teens would like to thank Biffy Cahill for her tireless efforts in making Berlin Y2Y the wonderful group that it is and for providing the opportunity to attend such an amazing conference. We thank you because it certainly “takes a Village” and your support is greatly appreciated.