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Task Force Calls for Youths to Organize Sober Activities

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Times Staff Writer

Efforts to keep teen-agers from drinking can only succeed if students take the initiative in planning their own sober activities, a Beverly Hills PTA council task force concluded last week.

Alcohol-free events planned by adults through the city’s Recreation and Parks Department or Beverly Hills High School are not viable alternatives because such activities are seen as unattractive by teen-agers, several task force members said at a meeting Thursday.

“It doesn’t matter what the recreation department does, the kids have to be behind it,” said Christene Corless, a recreation supervisor.

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The task force, which was created after the PTA received complaints about alcohol being served to minors at parties, decided during Thursday’s discussion to have more meetings with students about what sort of events they prefer.

Teen-agers would only choose sober alternatives if they got together and “provided something cool and hip enough” to do instead of drinking, said Nader Mousavi, 16, Beverly Hills High School associated student body president.

“Lots of kids drink just because they have nothing better to do,” Mousavi said. “If there was something else to do that could be more fun, there’s no reason why people won’t do it.”

The task force batted around several ideas for sober activities, such as dances and concerts. Mousavi and Senior Class President Marc Buckhantz, 17, said the students would probably support a dance club they could run with backing from adults.

Several people who attended the meeting said they would gladly lend support to a student-run organization that could operate a club or stage events if alcohol was not involved. They conceded that today’s students socialize in different ways than students in the past.

“The mentality (of students) has changed,” said Jack Dyck, athletic director at Beverly Hills High School. “When I was in high school, if you weren’t in a football game by 5:30 you didn’t get a seat.” Now it is difficult to fill the stands for either a football or basketball game, he said.

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