Decrease in underage drinking good news

First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono addressing Samoa Bowl IX participants at Pizza Hut last week during a dinner hosted by Tai’ita’itama —a program whose initiative is to prevent underage drinking — and the Boys & Girls Clubs of American Samoa. Both organizations are spearheaded by the First Lady, with the Tai’ita’itama Program supporting the Samoa Bowl event over the years. [photo: SEER]

First Lady Mary Ann Tulafono has called the decrease in alcohol use by the territory’s youth “wonderful news” when she spoke at last week’s dinner for the Samoa Bowl IX participants, held at Pizza Hut.

The dinner was hosted by Ta’ita’itama — whose initiative is to prevent underage drinking — and the Boys & Girls Clubs of American Samoa. Both organizations are spearheaded by the First Lady, with the Ta’ita’itama Program supporting the Samoa Bowl event over the past years.

During her address, she said she was “very pleased” to report that the American Samoa Youth Risk Behavior Survey shows a 7% reduction in alcohol use by youth in the last 30 days (from 29.8 to 22.8 percent) and a 4% reduction in binge drinking (from 18.3 to 14.3 percent).

“This is wonderful news. These survey findings verify that the hard work put into implementing all of these programs and services throughout the year is working — we are doing something right and we are having positive impact on the lives of young people.”

The YRBS was completed by 3,190 students in six public high schools in American Samoa during the spring of 2011. (See Samoa News edition on Dec. 29 for full details)

At the dinner event, the first lady explained the Ta’ita’itama initiative, which was first launched in 2006 and since then it has implemented an array of programs.

“The primary goal of the Ta’ita’itama initiative is to reduce the rate of underage drinking by 5% — this was the goal we established as a board [of directors] in 2006,” she said.

She also explained the group’s newest initiative launched in November, which is the Youth In Action Leadership Council, which is made up of student body officers from each of the 12 public and private schools in the territory.

“They are young, student leaders of their peers and they, like all of you, are the future generation of American Samoa,” she told the gathering.

As part of her speech, she thanked the coaching staff from Hawaii, California and American Samoa for their leadership and support of our young people.

It was revealed during the dinner event that the majority of coaching staff from abroad are of Samoan ancestry, and the home villages of their ancestors in American Samoa were proudly announced.

Gov. Togiola Tulafono acknowledged the support of Ta’ita’itama as a major sponsor of the Samoa Bowl IX and referenced how the First Lady has infused sports and recreation as a key component of her after-school and summer academy programs. 

The Football Federation of American Samoa and Islandwide Volleyball Associations were recognized as official partners for sports development.

Click on pdf attached for full text of First Lady's speech

First Lady's Speech.pdf26 KB


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