guest column: 'Unsung Heroes' recognizes local groups that work to combat excessive drinking
There are some people doing something about this problem - people you don’t even know about. They’re our unsung heroes.
A2C3 has just awarded two Unsung Hero awards, one in a youth category and the other for an adult. In the youth category, the winner is the Phi Delta Theta fraternity at the corner of South University Avenue and Washtenaw Avenue.
This fraternity was chosen because it is an alcohol-free fraternity that is prospering and perpetuating an alcohol-free commitment, expanding the pool of advocates, and sending messages that “it works!” as well as doing positive volunteer projects in the community. It hasn’t always been easy, but these young men are role models in influencing the Greek culture and addressing issues of peer pressure. On the Saturday of Homecoming, A2C3 co-chair Joan Lowenstein presented the fraternity with a plaque commemorating their award. Several Phi Delta Theta alumni were present because this was also a ribbon-cutting occasion for a new porch that is being built.
The alumni are willing to donate money for improvements to the historic building because these students are committed to maintaining their beautiful home without the wild and destructive parties that often result from excessive and underage drinking. They know how to have fun without going overboard.
The community category is intended for those who work to change inappropriate promotion and use of alcohol, and/or to advocate for more preventive and treatment options for alcohol abuse in our community. Jess Antainitis was chosen because of her long-time, quiet, behind-the-scenes volunteer work—in particular with the Teens Using Drugs program for nine years. This program is geared toward parents, and Ms. Antainitis promotes it within the community.
A2C3 meets monthly with a broad coalition of community members from the schools, the University of Michigan, the City of Ann Arbor, law enforcement, and others. Our mission is to address the harm caused by underage and excessive use of alcohol.
Mary Jo Desprez is the Alcohol and Other Drug Policy and Prevention Administrator at the University of Michgian and Joan Lowenstein is an attorney and former Ann Arbor City Council member.