Affirmations, the Ferndale-based LGBT community center, announced plans last week for a new campaign designed to keep center youth alcohol-free and is counting on area bar and restaurant owners to help out. They are asking the managers and owners of Ferndale establishments to join the campaign by signing a pledge of support.
All participating businesses will receive window clings to display in their windows.
As one of the hotspots for the LGBT community, Affirmations found that Ferndale was the perfect place to start. Whether boasting gay nights, girls nights or neither, nearly every bar or restaurant in Ferndale is likely to cater to the LGBT population and will likewise be a magnet for queer youth looking for connection and community.
“Access to alcohol is one of the key factors influencing the rate of underage drinking,” said Affirmations Youth Program Manager Ryan Oliver. “With this initiative, we hope to gain the support of local business and limit access to alcohol for youth.”
The LGBT community has historically gathered in bars, one of the few spaces where one could meet someone and form relationships. With more social outlets being created every day, the social scene for LGBT is certainly changing, but the bar-hopping draw is still a strong one for young people.
Affirmations is one of the alternatives for youth. It offers a range of support and social activities for youth and has provided services for more than 150 youth since re-designing and re-launching its new youth program this past winter.
Its “Cross the Line” peer outreach team, led by members of the youth program, will be visiting bars and restaurants in July and August to ask their help in making the campaign to stop underage drinking a success. “Ferndale business people are very community-minded,” said Oliver, “and we’re looking forward to working with them to help keep our youth safe.”
The Oakland County Health Division Office of Substance Abuse Services has provided funds to support project costs. To learn more about this and other programs, visit http://www.goaffirmations.org.