Wednesday, October 19, 2011
By John Laidler, Globe Correspondent The Burlington Drug and Alcohol Task Force is launching a new initiative as it prepares to celebrate turning 30 next year. The task force is establishing a new youth group to operate within its organization. The task force is currently recruiting young people in town to take part in the group. Any middle or high school aged resident is invited to join. “We are very excited about it,” said task force chairwoman Marilyn Belmonte. She said it is hoped that participants in the new group will help get more young people involved with the task force’s work and – because they are from that age group - may be “better able to reach young people.” The launching of the group may also enable the task force to broaden its focus, Belmonte said. Founded in 1982, the organization’s mission until now has been combating youth drug and alcohol use. But Belmonte said she anticipates that the youth group may want to “reach kids about other forms of risky behavior,” such as those related to texting, Internet use, and driving. Working with adult advisors, the young people will be able to design their own projects. “We want to hear from them what they think are some of the topics they want to pursue and how they think the best way is to reach other teens,” Belmonte said. The task force at times has “borrowed” young people from other organizations for specific projects, she said, “but we thought this year it would be nice to have our own youth group.” The task force, which until now has held all its meetings during the day, has decided to hold every other meeting in the evening to accommodate the youth group. The first evening meeting was set to be held this past Tuesday, Oct. 11. To join the youth group, e-mail Belmonte at Marilyn@DrugAbuseRecognition.com or call 781-572-1478.