Help the Hills Student Team
Sponsors: Emily Erwood & Kym Prewitt
Three Pillars: Leadership, Accountability, Integrity
Help the Hills Student Team (HTHST) of YLVH is a diverse group of juniors and seniors who pledge to live a positive, healthy lifestyle free from harmful substances (drugs, alcohol and tobacco) and attitudes. Their mission is to mentor younger students in the Vestavia Hills school system by speaking to large groups, leading small groups, and sometimes engaging in one-to-one interaction. These students are selected through an application and interview process based on scholarship, attendance, discipline, interview, teacher recommendations, and character. This organization is officially a segment of the Help the Hills Coalition as well as Youth Leadership Vestavia Hills.
T – Train E – Educate A – Advocate M - Mentor
Our approach is very specific. We want to remain positive. We want to focus on the number of students who DO NOT drink and to grow that number. We don’t want to be preachy or judgmental. We just want to be a positive example of one way to choose to live life as a teenager. We want to teach them that coping with the stresses of teenage life is easier when you choose not to drink.
What is the Help the Hills Coalition?
The Help the Hills Coalition is comprised of community members representing law enforcement officials, healthcare professionals, educators, business leaders, youth, church leaders, and parents. The coalition model leverages the resources of multiple community groups in order to combat underage drug and alcohol use and abuse. HTHST represents youth on the Help the Hills Coalition and works in conjunction with the efforts of the coalition.
Team Members 2019-20
Annie Dodd, Chair Jordan Henson, Chair
Julia Claire Armstrong
Sarah Beth Corona
Laura Reed Cunningham
Mae Mae Daniels
Mary Tate DeFore
Lauren Ann Holmes
Mary Helen Peerson
Ann Martin Richardson
2018-19 Annual Report
The Help the Hills Student Team was comprised of a diverse group of 80 students from grades 11 and 12 who were all committed to abstaining from alcohol and drugs.
HTHST Study Period
This year for the first time, the HTHST was scheduled as a half-period class. Scheduling students to have a daily meeting time was extremely beneficial for both planning and accountability. Although there were a few conflicts which prohibited every student from being in the class, most were able to take it.
One Rebel Party
Our One Rebel Event was another tremendous success. It was held on October 5 after a home high school football game. We had approximately 350 students present from both middle schools. One of our students was the DJ; everyone danced and had a great time.
First Accountability Group Formed
In September, a team member had an idea about forming a small accountability group with a few younger high school students who played his same sport. These students actually came to the team member to ask to be held accountable. They wanted the structure and a reason not to drink. The boys formed a strong bond, meeting weekly during lunch and keeping up with each other through texting on the weekends. This idea was very successful and will be the model for next year for the entire group.
Suicide Prevention Workshop
September 25 – The HTHST provided 8 workers at a local informational meeting for parents about suicide prevention.
Community Night Out
October 2 - The HTHST hosted a booth at Community Night Out where they did face painting for children.
8th Grade Talks
Following the 1Rebel Party, the HTHST conducted a series of “talks” with every 8th grade in the system through classroom meetings. The concept is to build relationships with the 8th graders through a series of meetings in order to have a positive impact on them.
Early February – Academic Talks
These presentations were held in conjunction with course selection. Team members shared tips on how to achieve academic success. The 8th grade students were encouraged to ask questions openly.
Late February - 8th Grade Curriculum Fair/Activities Fair
The Activities Fair took place this year in the old gym at VHHS following the curriculum fair. Over 400 8th graders were present along with the entire HTHST. Each HTHST member held a sign with their name and activities. The 8th graders were allowed to freely roam the gym to find someone who participated in something of interest to them and ask questions. Nearly every activity in offered at VHHS was represented.
March – Student Life Talks
Students returned to each school eating lunch with the 8th graders before sharing during the homeroom period. They shared about the struggles and joys of student life at VHHS. They touched on topics including social media, vaping, finding your place, and coping with stress.
April – “Why I Don’t Drink”
April was the “big talk” about drugs and alcohol. The Pizitz Team returned to Pizitz and the LP Team returned to LP, each presenting speeches in a morning assembly of all 8th graders during 1st period. Each presentation included twelve students sharing their stories of why they don’t drink and challenging the students to follow suit. Some stories included family tragedies while others simply talked about reputation, athletic performance, and honoring parents. Both days were very powerful as the team members spoke from the heart.
· October – Team members were the DJs for the LPMS party.
· HTH Table/YLVH Table at the 8th Grade Fair: This year, these two tables were next to each other at this event for 8th graders and their parents.
· Guest speaker during class on Vaping.
· Students worked a Vaping Workshop for younger students at the Vestavia Hills Library in the Forest.