Hanley Foundation, a community leader in substance abuse prevention programming, awarded a $1,000 scholarship to Antonio Ruiz, a junior at Lake Worth Community High School, for winning a first-place award in the county’s 8th Annual Alcohol Prevention Poster Contest.
The theme for this year’s contest was “Get Your Game On Alcohol Free.” As part of his award, Ruiz’s poster will be displayed inside all 900 of the school district’s buses and will also be displayed in schools.
Ruiz created a colorful football-themed poster that featured a stadium full of fans cheering on the “Student” team beating the “Alcohol” team and noted an important statistic from the 2016 Florida Youth Substance Survey: 80 percent of Palm Beach County middle and high school students don’t drink alcohol.
“Antonio’s poster used key statistics to show his fellow students that despite what they might perceive, most of their friends aren’t using alcohol and they can feel good about not engaging in underage alcohol use, as well,” said Ryan Wertepny, executive director of prevention services for Hanley Foundation. “We felt Antonio’s football-themed poster would grab bus-riders’ attention with its game-day graphics and bright colors, but then really drive home the truth about alcohol use.”
Wertepny noted that one of Hanley Foundation’s key prevention programs, Alcohol Literacy Challenge, reflects Ruiz’s poster message and is offered free to schools, churches and youth groups.
“Prevention programming reaching school age children is a successful strategy to keep kids away from drugs and alcohol,” he said. “Children and teens who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to become alcohol addicted than those who do not drink before age 21. But the days of ‘just say no’ have evolved. Hanley Foundation’s prevention teams are on the front lines to effectively teach students both the real, physical effects of consuming alcohol and other substances, as well as the social and emotional effects kids think happen when they drink or use.”
The annual School Bus Poster Contest is held by the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition, in partnership with the School District of Palm Beach County, Florida Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD), Florida Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and sponsored by Hanley Foundation, the Judith Carreras Scholarship, the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, the Rotary Club of Wellington and the South Florida Fairgrounds.
Established more than 30 years ago by Mary Jane and Jack Hanley, Hanley Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides programming and grant support for statewide substance use disorder advocacy, prevention, education, and access to quality treatment. The Hanley Foundation has changed the conversation surrounding substance use disorders, their prevention, and their treatment.