Sober Squad promotes a chemical-free lifestyle for teens at middle, high schoolsA new group at Farmington High School is aiming to promote a chemical-free lifestyle among students. The new Sober Squad is a group of about 35 FHS students from all four grades. The name pretty much says it all — the members are spreading the word that they don’t need alcohol or drugs to have fun.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
A new group at Farmington High School is aiming to promote a chemical-free lifestyle among students.
The new Sober Squad is a group of about 35 FHS students from all four grades. The name pretty much says it all — the members are spreading the word that they don’t need alcohol or drugs to have fun.
FHS chemical health counselor Lisa Lippold said the Sober Squad was created in an effort to refute the stereotype that teenagers are out to get drunk or high.
“We wanted to be able to highlight the good things about students,” she said, “but to do it in a way that we could also really address the drugs and alcohol piece, too. There are a lot of students who want to be vocal in that, no, not everybody in Farmington wants to use drugs or alcohol.”
It’s been a very busy year for the group. Once the Sober Squad was established, they started doing outreach programs.
Perhaps the biggest project this year has involved group members visiting into Boeckman and Dodge middle schools to talk to younger kids about being chemical free.
The club had input on the lesson plans at the two schools, but they also developed a series of skits to present to the younger kids.
“They talk about things like consequences, peer pressure, things they do for fun in the high school. It’s that message of, ‘this is why I choose to stay away from alcohol or drugs,’” Lippold said.
But setting up the program has also been very educational for the students who belong to Sober Squad. Freshman Amber Rau admits she thought she knew quite a bit about what drug and alcohol use could do – but that was before she joined Sober Squad. Rau said it’s not easy to answer all of the questions.
“(Middle school students) ask a lot of questions,” she said. “Some of them are hard to answer. ‘How do you stop your parents from drinking and driving?’ There are some questions that really open your mind.”
Sometimes, the education piece comes down to a visual impact, like this week’s mock crash. The mock crash is scheduled for Thursday morning at FHS, and will involve the Farmington police department, fire department, ALF Ambulance and White Funeral Home. The high school typically holds a mock crash every other year for juniors and seniors as a way to help them think twice before drinking and driving. The date is chosen to correspond with prom weekend.
Freshman Kate Sorenson has a role in this week’s mock crash. She won’t divulge too much of what her role will be, but Sorenson is excited to be part of the program.
The mock crash is not the only thing Sober Squad will be doing in the next week. They’re also going to be out stopping cars as they enter the parking lot to check and see if the occupants are wearing their seatbelts, as promoting seatbelt use is also a priority of the club. Members will give away certificates for free music to every driver they see who is wearing his or her seatbelt.
Lippold said the Sober Squad is just getting started at FHS. This year’s accomplishments have been a good start, but she expects the group to expand in the coming years.
“We’re learning what direction we want to go with this,” Lippold said. “They have big things that they want to look at doing for next year. With this being our first year, we had to take it slow and see what direction we wanted to go, but they are just an awesome group of kids to work with.”
Sorenson and Rau both figure they’ll continue as members in the future. Joining Sober Squad has been an education for them, and it’s helped them become more outgoing. They have also made a lot of new friends in the high school through their participation.
“I’m excited to see who comes out for it next year,” Sorenson said. “It’s going to be fun.”