Organizations enlisting parents to prevent underage drinking

CNJ staff

County and state organizations are hoping they can increase the power of parents when it comes to preventing underage drinking.

The Power of Parents seminar, scheduled from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at the North Annex of the Clovis-Carver Public Library, will cover the influence parents have on their children’s choices.

It is a joint effort through the state chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the Curry County Teen Court.

“Every six to eight weeks, we do an alcohol or drug awareness program for defendants that are going through teen court,” said Underage Prevention Specialist Karen Lard-Garcia. “We’re very fortunate to have the people from the MADD state organization do a presentation to us during that class.”

The teen court program, Lard-Garcia said, is an alternative court where teenagers who are first-time offenders are defended, prosecuted, judged and sentenced by their teen peers.

Teens are referred with misdemeanors if they are willing to take responsibility for their actions and plead guilty, and the charge is taken off their record once the sentence is complete.

Lard-Garcia wasn’t sure how the message would be taught, and a MADD representative couldn’t be reached for comment.

“I think their take on it is to keep the communication lines open from a very early age,” Lard-Garcia said. “Once you lose those lines is when you start having trouble.”

Lard-Garcia said the teen court program will likely do more projects in collaboration with MADD, and she hopes to see more members of the public than just teen court representatives.