Liberty High School students picking up their tuxedos, bouquets and boutonnieres for the school's prom Saturday will find a little something extra included: A small card reminding prom-goers not to drink and drive that features the hashtags #arrivealive, #haveasafeprom and #libertycares.
"It serves to promote making healthy decisions," said Tyler Bowling, a Liberty junior and one of three students behind the safe prom campaign. "Don't drink and drive. If you do happen to drink at all, call someone else so you are safe. We just wanted to get that out to the whole entire community."
The students reached out to local businesses, especially those involved in providing things for prom, and asked whether they would carry the cards and distribute them to Liberty students.
"We said we would be happy to do anything to help. I think it's a great idea," said Tom Howes, owner of Hutchinson's Flowers. "Since we are hitting hundreds of kids over the next couple of days, it's a great idea to let them know that not only is their school supporting them, the community is supporting them."
Mary Ivie, co-owner of Royal Bliss Boutique in Eldersburg, was also happy to make the cards available to prom-going students.
"We agreed to put the info inside each tuxedo. They are in the clear pockets visible on the outside of the bag," she said. "All the gentlemen will receive one."
If the campaign is continued in future years, Ivie said, she would be happy to include the cards with prom dresses as well, but the timing wasn't quite right for this year.
"This year at the time we were approached, it was getting later in the dress season and was right in the middle of the tuxedo season," she said. "Usually the girls, they plan way ahead."
The cards were an idea brainstormed by Bowling and his friends, Alec Pellicciotti and Ben Agostino, who together helped found a club devoted to healthy decision-making at the beginning of the present school year.
"Liberty Students Healthy Decisions is the name of the club. This was our first year, our pilot year," said Jeremy Davis, the Liberty health teacher and faculty adviser to the club. "We came up with a survey asking students what are some common student health issues and all kinds of issues came up — texting while driving, stress management, substance use and abuse. They were pretty hot topics."
Because alcohol use was something that came up in the club's survey of Liberty students, Bowling said that when they began thinking about prom, it was decided they should aim for a campaign on that topic.
"Carroll County is not always the best area sometimes with drug and alcohol with teens," he said. "We wanted to start up a campaign to help people become more aware."
Bowling and others helped get fliers into the businesses that would later distribute the cards, and will be putting up fliers in other businesses on Saturday before prom. He said he's already gotten some feedback.
"A couple of people have actually noticed it around and said something about it, which is pretty cool," Bowling said. "They say it actually got to them and it does help raise awareness and people actually see this message that we put up."