Positive peer pressure, role modeling and environmental strategies can prevent destructive decisions by young people, and set a healthier, safer course for lives. We are focusing on a peer-to-peer education, prevention, and activism driven organization dedicated to preventing destructive decisions, particularly underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving.
OTW envisions a world in which young people make positive decisions that advance their health and safety.
Our mission is to empower young people to successfully confront the risks and pressures that challenge them in their daily lives.
We accomplish this by creating, equipping, and sustaining a network of student-led chapters in schools and communities focused on peer-to-peer education. OTW fosters a sense of belonging and promotes resiliency, leadership and advocacy skills so that young people make positive life decisions.
OTW is an inclusive organization, welcoming all youth seeking support for healthy and safe development.
OTW is a respectful organization that invites active youth participation and expects youth leadership. Youth voices will be sought out, respected, strengthened, shared and affirmed. OTW will endorse this approach at all levels of the organization (local, state and national) and will encourage others also to incorporate this approach.
We believe young people’s health and safety is improved through positive peer-to-peer interactions, healthy relationships with family and caring adults, and collaboration and alliance with other entities that also support youth.
We promote broad understanding of the risks facing youth and the importance of reinforcing protective factors. We do this through scientifically supported programs and practices and by sharing youth voices and youth perspectives on issues, laws and policies involving the education, culture, health, safety and treatment of youth.
We will be effective in accomplishing our mission through caring, compassionate, committed reinforcement of protective factors and elimination of risk factors for individual teens, and by pursuing best practices, sharing scientific knowledge and integrating evidence-based approaches into our work from concept to implementation to evaluation.
OTW does not support or condone the use of alcohol by underage young people. The purchase and public possession of alcoholic beverages by anyone under the age of 21 is illegal in all 50 states.
Alcohol alters an individual’s vision, reaction times, perception of distance, and judgment of one’s abilities. For adolescents, whose brains are still developing in critical ways, alcohol use makes them more vulnerable to learning and memory impairments. The use of alcohol is frequently coupled with risky and potentially destructive behaviors such as physical and emotional violence, rude or thoughtless remarks or actions, sexual mistakes or misjudgments, sexual assaults, and suicide acts and attempts.
OTW believes that young people can have fun, enjoy life and nurture positive personal relationships without the distraction and distortion of alcohol. OTW seeks to demonstrate positive and attractive alternatives to alcohol and other drug-infused activities for teenagers.
OTW does not believe that it is possible to break the law responsibly. OTW and its chapters do not support or condone activities that encourage or enable the use of alcohol by underage young people, including the following activities:
OTW is an inclusive, not an exclusive, organization. OTW recognizes that the pressures on young people to drink, use illicit drugs and engage in other unhealthy behaviors are strong. OTW seeks not to punish or alienate those students who make unfortunate choices but rather aims to inform, educate, support and empower young people to make positive decisions in their lives.
Alcohol – OTW supports passage and enforcement of comprehensive drinking age laws that prohibit the purchase, attempt to purchase, or possession of alcohol by a person under the age of 21. Enforcement efforts should be directed at youth, adult providers, sellers, servers, and others who are in a position to endanger youth. Use of fraudulent identification should be deterred through heightened security measures and through enforcement of the law. Law enforcement officials should join with other members of the community in raising awareness among adults as well as teens of the dangers of underage drinking and the consequences of violating the law.
Responsible Marketing and Advertising – Teens view large amounts of marketing and advertising materials from the alcohol and tobacco industries. OTW supports efforts to encourage responsible marketing and advertising that does not target teens and is mindful of the impact these materials have on youth attitudes and behaviors.
Graduated Driver’s Licensing Laws – Studies have shown that young drivers benefit from a gradual introduction to the privileges of driving an automobile. OTW supports graduated driver’s licensing laws that establish three phases for young novice drivers, including a permit phase during which drivers can only operate a vehicle with an adult, a provisional phase during which drivers are subject to certain (e.g., night-time) restrictions, and an unrestricted phase when all conditions have been met. OTW supports additional penalties within these laws for offenses involving impaired driving.
Primary Safety Belt Laws – Studies have shown that states that pass primary safety belt laws realize significant improvement in safety belt use. OTW supports primary safety belt laws that require use of occupant restraints by vehicle occupants and permit enforcement of the law without the need to observe or cite the driver for another offense.
Funding for anti-violence programming in schools – OTW supports funding for anti-violence programming in schools K-12, including programming that addresses issues such as hazing, bullying, relationship abuse, and gang activity.
Comprehensive approach to mental health for adolescents – OTW supports funding for mental health services.