Young people are bombarded by many warnings from adults about the dangers of underage drinking, so an effort by the Michigan Secretary of State’s office aims to have their peers send the messages instead, reports the Detroit Free Press. Now in its second year, the Courageous Persuaders program offers high school students a chance to flex their creativity and videography skills to discourage middle-school kids from drinking and driving through youth-oriented public service announcements. Participants get a chance to win scholarships of up to $3,000.
The 2009 competition is under way, open to high school students interested in creating videos 30 seconds long that will be sent through sheriff’s offices and driver’s education programs and aired statewide. Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land said the goal of the program is to produce videos that bypass the admonishment from grownups. "Sometimes it’s just jabber" to kids, Land said at a news conference Jan. 21. "I think this is a time for them to see other kids care what happens on the road." The deadline to submit videos is Feb. 11. Last year’s winner, Daniel Gianino of Lake Orion, figured a good way to reach middle-school kids was to take a cue from one of that age group’s icons: Harry Potter. Gianino’s video features a wizard walking in a neighborhood who senses a bored youngster at a home is about to crack open a beer. The wizard goes to the boy’s house and zaps the beer out of the boy’s hand…

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