Somerset County Essay Contest Challenges Students to Write About Underage Drinking

Somerset County Freeholder Brian Levine Credits: Courtesy Somerset County Freeholders

SOMERVILLE _ Every day 5,400 young people under 16 have their first drink of alcohol.

In an effort to raise awareness about the risks and prevent underage drinking-related problems, the Safe Communities Coalition of Somerset County has announced its second annual Underage Drinking Prevention Essay Contest, being offered in collaboration with Somerset County Department of Human Services, local Municipal Alliance Commissions and EmPoWER Somerset.

“Somerset County proclaims every April as Alcohol Awareness Month,” said Freeholder Brian D. Levine, human services liaison. “County government is glad to join with our community partners to provide useful information about alcohol abuse through this essay contest.

Sign Up for E-News

"We have confidence in our youth, as well as our community partners, to continue to make Somerset County the safe and educated community that we all know it to be," he added.

All public and private Somerset County high schools are invited to participate in this year’s essay contest, which is open to juniors and seniors. Each participating school will have the opportunity to select its top three student essays and submit them to the countywide essay contest by March 14.

One countywide winner, to be announced April 8, will receive a $500 scholarship and public recognition from the Somerset County Board of Chosen Freeholders.

Student essays should address three main points:

- What is the “911 Lifeline Legislation” and how will you tell your peers about it?
- For teenagers, what are the harmful effects of using alcohol?
- How can we prevent underage drinking as a community?


The Safe Communities Coalition is offering this essay contest in conjunction with “April is Alcohol Awareness Month” with the goal of reducing underage drinking and increasing awareness of the “911 Lifeline Legislation” among teens. and click on the Essay Contest tab for further information, including a customizable flyer for schools, scoring rubric and tip sheet for schools on how to make the essay contest as successful as possible and encourage student participation.

“One resource that we hope schools will take advantage of is the opportunity to partner with the Municipal Alliance Commissions, which are local groups working to prevent substance abuse in their communities,” said Brenda Esler, executive director of EmPoWER Somerset and co-chair of the Safe Communities Underage Drinking prevention workgroup.

"The Municipal Alliances can provide local support to schools in promoting the essay contest and helping to select the student entries to advance on to the county level competition.”

Schools are also encouraged to incorporate the essay as an assignment within English or health classes to maximize student participation.

The goal of the Safe Communities Coalition is to live in a safe and healthy community by eliminating drug use, underage drinking and prescription drug abuse.  Through widespread community collaboration, environmental change, and community education in Hunterdon and Somerset counties, the Safe Communities Coalition addresses areas such as reducing prescription drug abuse, as well as underage drinking and tobacco, marijuana, heroin and other illicit-drug use. 

For more information about the essay contest, contact Manny Kyei at 908-722-4900 More information about the Safe Communities Coalition is available at

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Somerset Hills

Somerset County Preparing for Construction of Finderne Avenue Bridge, Beginning Feb. 20

February 18, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Finderne Avenue bridge, between Union Avenue and Foothill Road, will be under construction from Feb. 20 for about nine months, according to a release from Somerset County.

The bridge will be constructed in three separate stages, with one lane northbound and one lane southbound being maintained, aside from intermittent single-day closures as required. In addition, ...

Saint Peter's Fights Against Fatal Cardiac Arrests on the Playing Field

February 17, 2018

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - On a particular Tuesday evening, Jim Fisher stood in front of a group of coaches and doctors at the newly ​-​ renovated, start-of-the-art simulation center at Saint Peter’s University Hospital in New Brunswick.

Jim’s son, Sean, died in Aug ​just​ 2008, as a result of an undetected heart defect. He was just about to turn 13. The two and their family are ...

The Path to a House Majority Leads through the Somerset Hills

February 18, 2018

Genteel and bucolic, the Somerset Hills rarely provide a battleground for national races, in 2018 that appears to have changed.  This year, the road to a majority in the House of Representative leads through New Jersey.  The non-partisan Cook Report, one of the go-to sources for congressional race handicapping, says that five of New Jersey’s twelve seats are in ...

NJ Audubon: Teacher Naturalist Training

February 11, 2018

NJ Audubon: Teacher-Naturalist Training
NJA Scherman Hoffman Teacher-Naturalist Training Program

Do you enjoy the outdoors? Would you like to be involved in environmental education? We are offering the opportunity to join Scherman Hoffman's environmental education team. As a Teacher-Naturalist, you would teach environmental education programs in an outdoor setting to school and scout ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, February 19, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art , Bedminster,

Dan Bischoff: Critic As Artist

Mon, February 19, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster

Keepers of the Chroma: An Exhibition Regarding ...

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, February 20, 9:00 AM

The Center for Contemporary Art , Bedminster,

Dan Bischoff: Critic As Artist