SHIPROCK — Career Prep High School students have developed a slideshow presentation that demonstrates the impacts of underage drinking and ways to combat it.
Three students involved in developing the material made the presentation Friday at the Shiprock Chapter house.
In it, students demonstrated alternatives to drinking, like visiting friends and family and completing community service projects.
The slideshow also showed the negative side of Shiprock including images of public intoxication, litter and graffiti.
It was narrated by sophomore Zachary Blueeyes.
Asked if there is a problem with underage drinking in Shiprock, he said, "I think there is."
Blueeyes added that some students share stories about binge drinking and about the types of alcohol they consumed.
Sadly, they do not talk about their families and friends with the same excitement, he said.
Underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the United States, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
By the age of 15, more than 50 percent of teens have had at least one drink and by the age of 18, that number rises to more than 70 percent, according to underage drinking statistics posted on the institute's website.
The students are participating in the Navajo Youth Builders program, which is housed under Capacity Builders Inc.
Tina Gray is a prevention educator with Capacity Builders who oversees the program, which is available to middle and high school students in the Central Consolidated School District.
"This presentation is about what they do to prevent themselves from drinking," Gray said.
The students illustrated their ideas for alternatives to drinking by taking a selfie, which is a self-portrait taken with a hand held digital phone or camera.
"When somebody takes a selfie, it shows confidence in them," Gray said. "They're taken with friends, they're taken with family."
While working on the project, junior Ariel Bulletts learned that some students begin drinking as early as age 13.
"It's terrible," she said. "Most people think they can hide their problems by consuming drinks and taking drugs."
Shalyce Lee, a junior who also worked on the project, explained that some alternatives to drinking are hanging out with friends, completing homework or helping a parent with cooking.
"People may think it's cool doing it but it's not. It can affect a lot of people in your life," she said.
When Lee listens to stories about alcohol and drug usage, she thinks about how it could affect the person in the future and what their lifestyle will be after high school.
Each one said they do not drink because they see the impact it has on the community and they think about their families and friends.
"Those are two important things in life," Blueeyes said.
As part of the program, the students, ranging in age from 12 to 19 years old, are required to complete 20 hours of community service.
Some of the community service projects the students completed this year included a teddy bear drive to help children affected by domestic violence, collecting canned food to donate to the ECHO Food Bank, and a pen pal project.
"All our community projects give our kids a sense of purpose and I think that sense of purpose stays with them as they grow up," Gray said. "Knowing that they can give back to the community even though it is a little thing ... it affects somebody and that creates a chain reaction of good deeds."