Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley received years 6-10 of the Drug Free Community Grant to combat alcohol and marijuana use among youth. As part of their action plan, they hosted Free 4 the Weekend, where 1,400 junior high students pledged to be drug, alcohol, and violence-free. Additionally, during Red Ribbon week, they collaborated with Santa Maria Youth and Family Center and schools to conduct substance use awareness activities at Junior High Schools.
In addition, FBSMV collaborated with the Santa Maria Police Department and Alcohol Beverage Control to conduct the Minor Decoy operation at twelve stores using two FBSMV youth group members. This effort resulted in one citation at BevMo. Additionally, they hosted the Licensee Education on Alcohol and Drugs (LEAD) Training, providing 23 local alcohol licensees with up-to-date information on laws and liabilities concerning sales to minors.
Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE)
Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley is determined to halt tobacco use in the region. They assist 20 school districts in strengthening existing Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) programs to tackle the alarming 12% smoking rate among teens in Santa Barbara County.
To achieve this goal, Fighting Back conducts biannual training sessions for TUPE coordinators. These four-hour meetings provide essential updates on tobacco education, prevention, and intervention, along with California Healthy Kids Survey topics. They also offer assistance for special campaigns, signage, and youth leadership activities to reduce smoking and tobacco use in children.
Fighting Back Santa Maria Valley plays a crucial role in coordinating the Countywide California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS). This comprehensive survey explores students’ health behaviors and academic performance. The organization builds partnerships with county health department tobacco control programs, mental health programs, and other community prevention initiatives to strengthen their efforts.