The La Cañada Flintridge Community Prevention Council is teaming up with the LCF Alliance for Youth to bring yet another theme to the community about making good choices and supporting the city’s young people.
The partnership’s first campaign launched in August of 2022, built on the idea of “we wanted to make sure, especially coming out of the pandemic, that all of the youth in the community know that La Cañada cares about them in a variety of ways. We wanted to give one big hug to the youth in the community who were experiencing all kinds of loss in the pandemic,” said LCF Community Prevention Council Chairman Will Moffitt.
Moffitt told the Outlook Valley Sun that the council was first created about 40 years ago after a LCF high school student died due to an incident related to drugs and alcohol.
“It caused so much anxiety in the community that we got together all of the churches, all of the schools, all of the youth groups [and the] California State Senator, all together to see what we could do to help the kids and the community heal and help prevent tragedies like that from occurring again,” said Moffitt.
The LCF Community Prevention Council promotes healthy policies and practices regarding alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in the community and supporting youth and their families. The LCF Alliance for Youth, meanwhile, is a collaboration between local schools (private and public), churches, businesses and community organizations dedicated to supporting the youth of LCF. One of its goals is to engage local youth to proactively deal with issues impacting their lives.
Though the prevention council has been running for about four decades, the LCF Alliance for Youth was just born a year ago, in the summer of 2022. LCUSD Governing Board President Joe Radabaugh was a key influence to create it. The alliance currently, “Is run by a ‘loose federation’ of 40 plus passionate adult leaders across local churches, schools, businesses and community organizations. Students are involved, but don’t lead per se, just yet. We think a board of form may be necessary,” said Radabaugh.
“The LCF Alliance for Youth is an effort by our schools, churches, businesses and community organizations to collaborate on coordinated ways to reach, engage and support local LCF youth on important issues and challenges they face growing up in today’s world,” said Radabaugh.
Both organizations decided to do a series of themes during the school year to bring the community together and educate kids on various topics. The four period “calendar of care” had four themes, and for each theme, one school or organization took the lead in organizing it.
As for how students were able to participate in each theme, “There was no upfront directive on how students should be involved… it has unfolded organically. During our four different periods, the lead school for each period decided how best to involve their students.
“So last summer, we all agreed that we would come together and mobilize to create a kind of a campaign and more of a standardized, branded effort to reach the kids,” said Radabaugh.
LCUSD took the first theme, titled “Belongingness”, the idea of starting a new school year together and a time for kids to make connections within the community.
“The idea was to get all of these people that were connected to all of the schools, all of the churches, all of the youth groups, all together on one theme, from October until the middle of November on belongingness,” said Moffitt.
The next theme was titled, “Beyond Self” and St. Francis High School took the lead on it. It served as a message to serve beyond oneself and do something for someone else. Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy took the next theme, which was titled “Whole Health” and emphasized the importance of mental health and provided tools on how to deal with stress.
“We’ve been able to work together as a team, it was really great to see that each school took a lead on the four periods, and how we learned along the way, in terms of what we did,” said Radabaugh.
Now, Flintridge Preparatory School is taking the last lead in the current theme, “Making Good Choices.” Similar to the Every 15 Minutes program that is held at LCHS, this theme highlights the end of the year and the many students attending going to prom and graduation parties.
“It made sense to think about making good choices around graduation time, when the kids get so excited to finish school. But making sure to remind them to be careful, whether it’s around things like fentanyl and drug use, distracted driving and drunk driving or other things,” said Radabaugh.
About 170 posters that the students put together will be circulated around LCF, and the theme will last until June. About 10 students from Flintridge Prep worked on the theme and were from the Student Honor Council and Student Senate. Flintridge Prep School Counselor and Dean of Students Beth Pattinelli checked in on the students’ progress.
“But the fact that all the groups are getting together on a monthly basis to talk about doing stuff together is pretty cool, pretty unique to our community,” Radabaugh added.
Flintridge Prep student Kaitlyn Yun created the visual poster for the current theme and loved how involved she got to be during the process.
“I think my favorite part is being so involved within it. It wasn’t just an assignment that they gave me, and I spit something back at them, it was something that we had to work through,” said Yun.
Yun said that spreading the message of making good choices is important to share since it could be seen as a taboo within families or something that kids are expected to already know. She appreciated the opportunity to work on the project.
Meena Durairaj, another Flintridge Prep student, also worked on the project.
“I helped put together resources about fentanyl poisoning, drug use, alcohol safety and more. The goal was to create a QR code containing all these resources for parents and students to be able to access easily,” said Durairaj.
One challenge she encountered was finding links that people could read, but overall, she loved the experience and the message they were spreading.
“I appreciated that the campaign was realistic about teenage drinking/drug use and provided resources and educational opportunities rather than using scare tactics or abstinence-only logic. I think it’s important to give teenagers the tools and knowledge to make safer decisions or get help if they need it,” said Durairaj.
The two organizations will now take time to evaluate the progress of the themes how to plan for the next school.
“We’d love to evolve and sustain it next year, we’re going to have a meeting and talk about what’s working, what can we do better, how can we go bigger and bolder. I think really getting to see the special secret sauce of [making it more] student led,” said Radabaugh.
“It’s been so encouraging to see all of the groups [and] all of these organizations come together and getting the word out and making it a better world for everybody,” said Moffitt.
First published in the May 25 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.