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HIP youth alcohol prevention group looking to add new members

Beth Heltunen

Hubbard in Prevention, a group striving to reduce the use of alcohol among youth, is seeking more members to help with the initiative.

HIP coalition volunteers have completed interviews with members of the community to evaluate attitudes about youth alcohol use. The area served by the HIP coalition includes all of Hubbard County and students attending Park Rapids, Nevis and Laporte school districts.

The initiative started after Hubbard County received a five-year, $1 million grant through the Minnesota Department of Human Services to address alcohol consumption by youth.

The coalition wants to have members from each of the following population sectors: youth, parents, under-represented populations, business community, media, school, youth-serving organizations, law enforcement agencies, justice/corrections, religious or fraternal organizations, civic and volunteer groups, healthcare professionals, government and other organizations involved in reducing alcohol abuse.

The student organization We Decide is a branch of the HIP coalition. Students from Park Rapids, Nevis and Laporte have been busy marketing the message of refraining from alcohol use among their peers.

Posters can be seen around the schools, billboards are placed on Highway 34 with a "Let's Connect" message and school officials are voicing support for the effort.

A common theme that was heard in conversations with Hubbard County residents this fall was that many community leaders don't place preventing underage drinking as a high priority.

HIP is working to change that attitude by raising awareness of the issue.

A town hall meeting is being planned for this spring and anyone from the community will be invited to attend and learn more about HIP.

Beth Heltunen, grant coordinator, can answer questions about HIP and give more information about how to become involved in the initiative. Heltunen can be reached at 237-5462 or

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561