STORY: Up all night to stay sober

After a year of planning, Kentucky 4-H teens throw an all-night party.

A Kentucky 4-H Teen Leadership club coordinates "4-H Project Prom," an all-night event held immediately after prom for seniors and their dates. The club partners with local civic organizations, the board of education, churches, and parents of the graduating senior class to provide a safe drug- and alcohol-free event after senior prom.

Even though the event competes with traditional after-prom parties, about 70% of the senior class and their dates attend. Evaluation showed that 28% of respondents would have attended an after-prom party if they had not attended 4-H Project Prom; 36% admitted they would have used alcohol; and 12% reported they would have used drugs at another party.

Attendees aren’t the only ones who benefit. The program also teaches teens to plan and implement a large event and what it means to accept responsibility for a program. They spend one year learning how to:
  • Write grants
  • Formally request support from civic organizations and local government officials
  • Work with parents and other adults to request support for their program
  • Schedule an event

Each club member has a specific duty to make the evening a success. If someone doesn't do an assigned job, no one else picks it up. The lesson of responsibility is very real.

Members of the 4-H Teen Leadership Club also develop communication and organizational skills, as well as learn about the hazards of drug abuse.