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Posters send hard message on alcohol abuse

Bronx Times

An infant guzzles from an Absolute Vodka bottle, and parents can’t help but stare.

The intriguing image is a poster crafted by student Christian Martinez, an eighth grader from Mott Hall Community School.

He was one of 22 Throggs Neck students honored May 16 for creating effective posters on underage alcohol abuse, an issue not without notice in the neighborhood.

The Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership sponsored the poster campaign, now in its tenth year.

Martinez took the theme of underage alcohol abuse “very literally” by drawing the drinking infant.

But it wasn’t just an image the 14-year old sketched. Several messages were scrawled on the poster reading, “one of three 13-year olds tried alcohol”. Passersby couldn’t help but stare at Martinez’s poster. He hopes his artistic gift will come in handy when he becomes an architect.

For now he learned a lesson that gives him a better chance at achieving his goal.

“Alcohol is very harmful for your body,” said Martinez.

It was that moral that TNCAP wanted kids to absorb. Organizers saw merit in teaching children the facts of hard drugs through the power of creation.

“We’ve done a lot of research for TNCAP...and a lot of our stats show it’s more effective to get them involved than just preaching,” said Teresa Salomine, the non-profit’s community organizer.

Organizers relied on schools like P.S. 304 and Lehman High School to spread interest on the poster campaign.

Coordinators first compiled a curriculum highlighting the lowlights on underage alcohol abuse. Students in the neighborhood applied the information to their posters.

Gabriela Johns from St. Frances De Chantal School sketched a beer bottle with the blunt caption reading “I could kill you”.

Richard Gonzalez, 11, based his sketch on what he has seen and learned about alcohol.

“Drinking can make you drunk and hurt your brain” was what Gonzalez hoped to convey.

Meanwhile, other participants did get some exposure of their talents as many of their posters were hung in local businesses.

The presentation comes as new stats by the nonprofit Archdiocese of New York Drug Abuse Prevention Program show eighth graders less likely to care about the effects of alcohol than sixth or seventh graders.

Reach reporter David Cruz at (718) 742-3383 or email dcruz@cnglocal.com.

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