July 2, 2022

TTYS “Social Norming” Billboard

Standing with the Billboard designed by the Marketing/PR Team of the Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Council are (L-R): Gail Onofrio, Jessica Ramage, Mackenzie Holdmeyer, Ali Siemianowski, and Dave Fitzgibbons.

The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Council designed this billboard as part of their social norming campaign.  You might be asking yourself, “What is social norming?”  A good question!

Social norming is a prevention approach based on the theory that individual behavior is strongly influenced by our perceptions of the attitudes and behaviors of our peers.  “This innovative, science based approach to health has a proven track record of changing perceptions, attitudes and behavior on a variety of target groups, or behaviors such as high risk drinking, drinking and driving, seat belt use and tobacco use,” says Michelle Hamilton.  Michelle Hamilton recently provided social norming a training for the Substance Abuse Prevention Council.

Social norming, more simplistically, is akin to positive reinforcement.  “We have chosen to share information with the community that is very positive.  These billboards thank parents for doing a great job monitoring their kids, and encourage them to keep up the good work!” says Gail Onofrio, Tri-Town Youth Services’ Executive Director.  Project Coordinator Ali Siemianowski adds, “Too often we hear negative messages, and this is a number to celebrate.”

The statistic used on the billboard was gleaned from Search Institute’s “Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes and Behaviors,” a survey taken by students at John Winthrop Middle School and Valley Regional High School in January 2011.  Other information from the survey will be released to the public at the “Community Forum on Youth Issues: Where are We Headed?”, that will be held at Valley Regional on October 11, 2011, 7-9 p.m.

This survey was previously administered in 2005 and in 2009, to measure the communities’ progress in building youth developmental assets.  From the survey information can be learned about youth perception of such things as family support, feeling valued by the community, feeling safe at school, involvement in creative activities, and motivation to learn, to name a few.

The Tri-Town Substance Abuse Prevention Council is in its first year of a Drug Free Communities grant.  Funding is provided through an ONDCP and SAMHSA partnership.