Massapequa, NY - Massapequa Takes Action Coalition (MTAC) and Levittown Community Action Coalition (LCAC) worked together with Massapequa Police Activity League (PAL) and Dek Superstars to develop signage on maintaining a substance-free sports arena. The signs read “Our athletes learn from you. Stay sober in the stands. This is an alcohol, marijuana, and vape-free space.”
The message was developed to better address substance use at public, community sporting events and encourage parents to model behavior for local youth. Both MTAC and LCAC operate with a mission to create healthy communities through the prevention of youth substance use. The community coalitions engage local organizations and residents to raise awareness of factors that protect our youth from substance use and minimize risk factors.
The message, “Our athletes learn from you. Stay sober in the stands,” is meant to remind parents that they are their children’s role models. According to MTAC Coordinator, Brooke Langella, “Consuming alcohol, marijuana, or tobacco while attending a children’s sport event removes the focus from the game and may normalize or even sensationalize substance use in community settings.” Hannah Moore, LCAC Project Coordinator, adds “I think it’s important to ensure youth are the focus of sporting events and keep these areas as safe spaces in the community.”
PAL and Dek Superstars acknowledge that sports communities have the power to connect with parents and influence healthy decisions. “Our ideals are in line with the support of youth and our future,” says Sebastian Giarratano, Dek Superstars Director.
LCAC and MTAC hope to spread this message to other sports fields and community spaces later this year.