EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- 60 kids from 6 high schools in Eau Claire County work together on a plan to prevent teen behaviors that can be dangerous.
SADD or Students Against Destructive Decisions is a national organization with six chapters in Eau Claire County: Altoona, Augusta, Memorial, North, Regis, and Fall Creek high schools.
The message is very straight forward; to give students skills and knowledge to reduce and prevent underage drinking.
“For students to model correct behavior to their peers says more than anybody else can say,” said Youth Advocacy Adviser with Eau Claire County Deb Tackmann.
Tackmann says about 5,000 kids under 21 die because of alcohol related incidents every year.
“Underage drinking is something that affects all communities and there are very negative consequences,” said Community Relations Officer with Eau Claire Police Department Kyle Roder.
Eau Claire police, medical professionals and the Eau Claire City/County Health Department talked to kids about health impacts and the legal aspects of underage alcohol consumption.
“If we keep working our hardest and we’ll give the kids the knowledge so they can make better decisions,” said North High School Senior Kate Kistener.
Kistener is one of SADD captains at her school. She says one of the main goals of SADD members is to learn about destructive decisions and how to prevent them, and then they relay the message to their peers.
“Peer to peer influence is very important,” said Franzie Peardon with the Eau Claire City/County Health Department.
In light of North High School's homecoming this week, one of the projects is to spread the word about underage drinking during Friday’s North vs. Memorial football game.
“At the game we'll have a bunch of t-shirts hanging up, it's really cool because both SADDs are working together,” said Memorial High School Junior Brie Dillon.
“Even though we're on the field competing; off the field we're trying to accomplish the same message with all of the EC County (schools),” explained Kistener.
The group says the goal is to eliminate four root causes of underage drinking; the alcohol being available, accessible, affordable and acceptable.
The group says 2,000 high school teens in Eau Claire County reported drinking underage last year, but adds that in the 10 years of SADD existence, the numbers have gone down significantly.