This year’s Illinois State Prevention Bowl filled the US Cellular Field Conference Center with 80 excited 7th & 8th grade students from 20 Chicagoland schools preparing to compete against each other by displaying their knowledge about HIV & AIDS physiology and prevention techniques, effects of drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse, methods of anger management & peaceful conflict resolution. Produced by The Prevention Partnership, Inc., the state’s acclaimed educational clearinghouse on effective methods for preventing unhealthy lifestyle choices, the event grows larger and includes more schools each year. Principal sponsors include: the Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Community Health & Prevention; Walmart; Mayor Deyon L. Dean & the Village of Riverdale; A.L. Bates Consulting; Larry Williams, State Farm Insurance agent; Chicago Alderman Emma Mitts; U.S. Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP), Faith & Community-based Support Initiative; Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC); Cook County Department of Public Health; Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.-Iota Phi Sigma Graduate Chapter; MazeJac Enterprises; Prevention First, Inc.; Midwest Music Machine; and International Business Machines (IBM).
The competing middle school students have been studying the topics all year long and are ready to press the buzzers to ring in with the right answers in this high-pressure game show format. Watching and cheering them on are teachers, parents, and celebrity guests from the worlds of sports, show business, and politics. Present at this year’s Prevention Bowl are Victor Adeyanju of the Cincinnati Bengals; Khalil Bell of the Chicago Bears; Leonard “GLC” Harris, GOOD Music Recording artist; and Nevermore, popular member of Crucial Conflict recording group.
The day started with words of encouragement. Recording artist GLC told the students, “You are not just the future, you are the present!”
Albert Orsello, CEO of The Prevention Partnership, told the students, “You are the ambassadors of prevention – each of you reach out to ten other people and the message will be spread.”
Nevermore of Crucial Conflict advised the young people, “The only limitations on you are the ones you place on yourself.”
Alderman Emma Mitts told them to “Dream Big,” and advised, “When you know you know, don’t let anyone tell you you don’t know what you know you know! Remember, a closed mouth never gets fed.”
News of the success of the Illinois Prevention Bowl is spreading, too. Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and California are asking to be included in the competition. As the Prevention Bowl expands, it is also attracting media attention, with television networks expressing interest in broadcasting the competition. So, too, are corporate sponsors stepping up to support the young people.
For information on entering a school in the 2012 Prevention Bowl, call Adam Bates at The Prevention Partnership, Inc., 773/378-4195.