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Pelham Teens Text About Dangers of Drugs, Bullying

PELHAM, N.Y. – Between 80 and 100 teenagers and their parents watched “American Teen,” a documentary that deals with the pressures teenagers face, as part of The Junior League of Pelham (JLP) and the Pelham Guidance Council (PGC) “Talk & Text Family Night” Tuesday at the Picture House.

The groups collaborated on the program because a recent Prevention Needs Assessment survey showed that alcohol abuse and binge drinking among Pelham teens surpasses the national average, the JLP said in a press release. In addition to alcohol and drug abuse, the film also dealt with sexting and bullying.

The documentary, very much like “The Breakfast Club” of 1985, deals with the lives of a jock, beauty queen, geek, rebel, and heartthrob. It was based in Warsaw, Indiana.

The teenagers were handed a questionnaire and asked to text their comments throughout the film. After the movie was over, the teenagers had a question and answer session with Cheryl Bobe, the director of the PGC, and watched the high school group, “Kids Helping Kids,” perform a scene from its anti-bullying play.

Daragh Murphy, president of the JLP, was pleased with the number of texts that were received throughout the documentary.

“We did get lots of texts,” said Murphy. “I think it was a great way to communicate with the audience, certainly with a group of this age. They seemed to be all engaged in the interaction.”

Murphy said the anonymous texts revealed who the teenagers related to most in the movie. The teens also said in their texts that they would go to their friends for help in the various scenarios presented. They also showed that many Pelham teenagers believed the movie was very much like life in Pelham, according to Murphy.

Bobe said the evening was a success.

“This was our first time doing something like this and we had tremendous participation from the kids,” said Bobe. “I think they learned that they’re in a similar situation. They learned about what each other felt.”

Both Murphy and Bobe hope to have a similar event soon.

“We wanted to see how tonight would work and we were pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of young people came,” said Bobe.

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