Influence the Choice (ITC) is a community alliance that aims to reduce and prevent youth substance abuse in the Issaquah School District. Supported by the Issaquah School Foundation, ITC works with a host of community members (including youth and parents, law enforcement, business owners and civic organizations) to build resources and networks for drug-free youth.
Founded as the Issaquah Drug Free Community Coalition in 2011, ITC received a federal grant in 2013 to further develop the program. In 2014, the Coalition merged with the Issaquah Schools Foundation’s Healthy Youth Initiative. Influence the Choice continues to be supported primarily by federal grant money, with additional financial and in-kind support and contributions from the Foundation.
ITC's Positive Community Norms Campaign works to correct misconceptions in our own communities. Most youth do NOT engage in substance abuse, but most may believe their peers do. Similarly, parents may think most teens drink alcohol, but don't recognize it could be a problem for their child.
The goals of our Positive Community Norms campaign are to:
ITC's approach works to correct negative misperceptions by collecting actual data that measures beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. The data is then incorporated into a marketing strategy using media materials and messages to correct these commonly-held beliefs.
Research shows repeated exposure to a variety of positive, data-based messages can change the misperceptions that help sustain problem behaviors. Over time, the negative behaviors of a group begin to shift toward the more accurately perceived safer and healthier norms.
Students from the greater Issaquah area are challenged every year to create a commercial that challenges friends, parents and younger students to adopt healthy lifestyles. Cash prizes provided by the Rotary Club of Issaquah, the Rotary Club of Sammamish, and the Sammamish Kiwanis Club, are given to winners. The contest is also supported by a $3000 grant from the City of Issaquah Arts Commission.
Winning videos will be offered to middle and high schools for play on in-school TV stations, to school health teachers and counselors, and to the cities of Sammamish and Issaquah for play on municipal stations.
Fueling Success for Every Student, Every School