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Published December 12, 2011, 05:29 PM

GF 6th Graders Learn Effects of Underage Drinking

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Some local middle schoolers learned the importance of living a healthy lifestyle on Monday. The program Ask, Listen, Learn was at Valley Middle School to talk about the dangers of alcohol. Kids were excited to learn about alcohol education.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Some local middle schoolers learned the importance of living a healthy lifestyle on Monday. The program Ask, Listen, Learn was at Valley Middle School to talk about the dangers of alcohol. Kids were excited to learn about alcohol education.

16% percent of 12 to 14-year-olds say they've had an alcoholic drink in the past month.

"The jist of the program is to get kids to make a healthy, positive pledge to live a healthy lifestyle. We want to encourage kids to say yes to a healthy lifestyle and no to underage drinking," said the Field Director of The Century Council, Dana Fudurich.

The program Ask, Listen, Learn is designed to educate 6th graders on the the affect alcohol has on young minds. 6th grader Arie Washington thinks the information she learned today is valuable for her future.

"It can mess things up like your brain cells and your body and the way you think of things and your emotional feelings towards things," said Washington.

Although the kids seemed to be excited today, parents might be doubtful on how to react. In fact, 65% of kids who do drink get their alcohol from the ones who should be keeping it away from them.

"Lot of times parents are unsure of how to handle conversations with their kids. I think that the kids want to hear from their parents on this subject and I think that parents think they're communicating on this subject but in fact they aren't," said Fudurich.

Parents can have some relief knowing their kids are learning how to say no if they're in a situation where alcohol is involved.

"It's going to be hard to make friends if you can't do the right thing and just treat others the way you want to be treated because it can--the way you act towards others is going to be bad and they're not going to like it so you're just going to be lonely and it's going to make you even more sad," said Washington.

"Peer perception continues to be everybody's doing it, I have to do it because everybody's doing it and when you sit down and talk to an amazing group of 6th graders like this you let them know, everybody's not doing it and here's some ways that you can say no and still be popular and have friends and play sports," said Fudurich.

The program also offers an interactive component, reminding kids of alcohol education throughout the entire year during their gym classes.

Research shows that the onset of the first alcoholic drink is at the age of 12. If parents can delay the onset of this, the less likely their children are to have drinking problems later in life.

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