MEO anti-drinking program back in classroom at Kalama Intermediate
Maui Economic Opportunity Youth Services instructors returned to the classroom at Kalama Intermediate on May 17 to teach the Underage Drinking Prevention program for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
Normally, Youth Services runs the anti-drinking program in intermediate and high schools in Central Maui and Upcountry. But the COVID-19 pandemic had limited the program to virtual presentations at Kamehameha Schools Maui, Maui High and Aka‘ula School on Molokai this school year.
Up against the last days of school for the year, the Youth Services team was able to meet with students in-person and offer the curriculum to about 50 6th-graders at Kalama Intermediate in Makawao from May 17 to 28.
Modifications have had to be made to the program that usually is offered to hundreds of students each school year. The curriculum typically has been rolled out over four-class sessions, but at Kalama, the Youth Services team had only one class due to the school’s hybrid schedule. Among the adaptations, Youth Services instructors created and shared videos with the students to guide them through the lessons.
Safety protocols were followed including social distancing and mask wearing.
“We missed teaching in the classroom and are so grateful for the opportunity to be back,” said Dane Ka‘ae, Youth Services director. “Through our program, we hope to educate the youths about the dangers of alcohol on their own health and safety as well as the community as a whole.”
Youths in the MEO after-school program have been involved in anti-drinking and prevention campaigns, collaborating with the Maui Police Department and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
The Underage Drinking Prevention Program uses comic books to bring awareness to false facts that youths might have heard about alcohol, show ways that alcohol companies target children with their advertisements, overcome peer pressure, and learn about the consequences of underage drinking.
The curriculum also gets parents involved and has activities that are meant to start a conversation between the child and their parents about the risks of alcohol.
For more information about MEO Youth Services programs, call 249-2990 or go to the website at www.meoinc.org.