BE A JERK Campaign Gets Off to Positive Start

April 20, 2012, 1:45 PM HST · Updated April 20, 5:33 PM
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Sticker Shock, MEO Youth Services at Minit Stop, Puakalani, April 11. Photo courtesy Yuki Lei Sugimura.

By Wendy Osher

Several events are being held on Maui as concerned youth and community members remind adults to Be A Jerk and not buy alcohol for anyone under the age of 21.

The message is being spread through a variety of community events including sticker shocks, car washes, and mural paintings.

Sticker Shocks:

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The Be A Jerk campaign will hosts its second “Sticker Shock” event at Pukalani Long’s at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18.

Kids from the Youth Services division of Maui Economic Opportunity, will be placing the Be A Jerk stickers on cases of beer as a reminder to keep alcohol out of the hands of youth.

A separate event is planned this Saturday, April 21 at the Minit Stop on Lower main Street in Wailuku.  The Wailuku event will be led by the Hawaii All Star Cheerleaders.

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FREE Car Wash:

The MEO youth group then returns for a Be A Jerk free car wash on Saturday, April 28 from 8 a.m to 1 p.m. at the Ceramic Tile Plus in Kahului.

Youth from the program will be washing cars for people who sign a pledge to Be a Jerk. In signing the pledge, adults agree to refuse to provide alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.

Themed Empowerment Murals:

Also as part of the campaign, the Community Work Day program will create community empowerment murals focusing on the Be A Jerk theme at Community Gardens started at Pomaika`i Elementary, Lahaina Intermediate, Hui Malama Learning Center, Molokai High School and Lanai Elementary.

The program kicked off last Saturday when individuals from MEO Youth Services completed a community empowerment mural at the Community Work Day site in Puunene.

Events Widespread from Ka Hale A Ke Ola to Kihei:

Ke Hale Ake Ola Homeless Shelter has declared the week of April 16 to 21 as Be A Jerk week, with mural painting and planned activities throughout the week.

On Molokai, Hui Aloha 58 and Hui Hookupono will be taking Be A Jerk Pledges at the Earth Day event on April 20 in Kaunakakai. Throughout the month they will be doing store checks to try and keep alcohol out of the vision of youth.

The Hui Malama Learning Center is teaching a 10-week class ending in May from the National Institute of Health, Media Smart Youth Curriculum. Through the curriculum, youth learn to decode media messages and advertising. At the end of the class, students will create their own production with a Be A Jerk message.

The Kihei Youth Center will take Be A Jerk and I Love Me – Alcohol and Drug Free pledges through the month of April. On April 27 the youth center will also hold a sign waving activity to bring raise awareness of youth alcohol prevention in South Maui.

About The Campaign:

Be a Jerk is a statewide campaign to stop underage drinking by urging parents and other adults to Be a Jerk when it comes to letting underage youth drink alcohol.  The campaign is geared toward on getting the whole community involved in changing the environment that contributes to alcohol abuse.

To raise further awareness on underage drinking, Mayor Alan Arakawa proclaimed April as Alcohol Awareness Month in Maui County.

County officials have reported positive progress in enforcing alcohol legislation.  On January 9, 2012, council members approved a ban on alcohol consumption at the new South Maui Park.  A similar alcohol ban was signed into law for Kalama Park and Cove Park in Kihei a month later.

For more information or to sign a pledge to Be A Jerk, contact Yuki Lei Sugimura, Community Organizer at 878-1888.  To volunteer with Be A Jerk programs, contact Donna Borge, Nicole Schroeter or Max Kincaid at 249-2990.

***Supporting information courtesy County of Maui.

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