Reality Illinois is a youth coalition dedicated to positive youth development and prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. There are currently two chapters of Reality in DuPage. One group is comprised of high school students and led by Gilda Ross. The other is fairly new and is comprised of Middle School students and is led by Liz Seybold.
Reality Middle School chapter is the newest chapter, beginning in April of 2018. Since the group’s inception, they have already accomplished a great deal. Students have worked with the Lombard Park District and posted the smoke-free park signs, cleaned up cigarette butts and other debris at Madison Meadows park and participated in a Sticker Shock campaign meant to educate adult consumers of alcohol that providing alcohol to minors is dangerous and illegal. Outside of these community projects, the group has regular meetings where they are educated about topics such as; prescription drug abuse, harmful effects of nicotine/tobacco products, the dangers of vaping, and on the opioid crisis, our community is currently facing.
Youth who participate in Reality benefit from:
- Learning how to identify and advocate for environmental and policy changes that will lead to the reduction of youth substance use.
- Gain important research, analytical, critical thinking, communication and teamwork skills.
- Work on REAL community change projects to promote and strengthen policy on smoke-free public areas.
- Create programs to encourage smoke-free public places and encourage peers to stay smoke-free.
- Most importantly, learn to become advocates to help themselves and teach others to lead a healthy lifestyle.