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Merchant Education Campaign


During the 2021-2022 school year, youth members of the Orange County Youth Council (OCYC) visited alcohol retailers in the City of Anaheim to meet with store owners and managers to discuss best practices to reduce sales of alcohol to minors. This activity supports their year-long effort to reduce underage drinking. Last fall, OCYC received a mini-grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to support their advocacy efforts. 

In partnership with the Orange County Department of Education and Waymakers, student leaders were able to conduct their project at two stores including Anaheim Liquor and Verco’s Liquor Market. The store visits started with an instore observational survey where the youth leaders assessed the placement of liquor, window coverage, and prevention signage. Next, they presented an overview of best practices to reduce sales to minors to the store manager, including: checking identification (ID), training staff to identify a fake ID, posting display notices regarding the ID policy in prominent places, prohibiting loitering around the store, ensuring store window signage confirms to local regulations, and creating a clear separation between alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Following the presentation, both retailers agreed to sign a pledge solidifying their commitment to implement these practices. To cap off the visit, the students placed stickers on alcohol multi-packs to remind patrons that providing alcohol to minors is illegal. John Nguyen, a senior at Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove, shared that he was pleased with the responses from the participating stores, “The merchant outreach project was a phenomenal event because we met with kindhearted store clerks who were enthusiastic about taking action to support the well-being of youth in our community.”

The OCYC leaders chose to conduct their project in April in observance of National Alcohol Awareness Month. Even though alcohol use is on the decline in recent decades, alcohol remains a serious public health issue according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and alcohol is still the most commonly used substance among young people in the U.S. and Orange County. Nhu Cao, a junior at Santiago High School in Garden Grove, shared her motivation to participate in the project, "this project is important to me because I have seen firsthand the impact of alcohol in the hands of minors. Thus, through this project, I was able to make contributions that I know would have a direct impact on the well-being of my community and those around me.”

To complete the project, OCYC members created a video​ to highlight the project and thank the participating merchants.

For more information, please contact Elke Petras, Coordinator, Orange County Department of Education, at (714) 966-4458 or epetras@ocde.us​.