Mythbuster: Veronica Beaupre

VeronicaBeaupre
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Why I think it is important for Kansas government officials to operate in the light of day, rather than in secret, behind closed doors: 

Blogging about healthy free time activities and substance abuse facts for her local prevention partnership.

Veronica has single-handedly changed the face of teen-driven social media in Berkshire County in western Massachusetts by helping to run the blog of the Pittsfield Prevention Partnership, a substance abuse prevention program run by the Berkshire United Way.  

Veronica's school district is the first in the whole of Western Massachussetts to officially support and promote the work of a youth blogger. Her blog provides information about pro-social activities, hobbies, opinions and movie reviews.

She also often includes data on substance abuse rates from the most recent Prevention Needs Assessment, also called the Bach Harrison Youth Survey. The assessment gathers information necessary to plan prevention and intervention programs to combat alcohol and other drug use and violence at the state, community, and local levels. Students respond to questions designed to gather information about risk and protective factors, and questions related to alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use such as:

  • “How wrong do you think it is for someone your age to pick a fight with someone?”
  • “If I had a personal problem, I could ask my mom or dad for help?”
  • “On how many occasions (if any) have you used marijuana in the past 30 days?”

Veronica's blog uses this data and information from other sources and includes infographics, recommendations of healthy activities and other youth-voice information that is accessible to fellow students.

Using her blog, Veronica has been busting myths for three months about her peers' perceptions of youth substance use. She also emphasizes the reality of the positive activities teenagers to do in their free time that provide "natural highs" and connection to things they are passionate about.