Lono praises Vernon Hills’ ‘safe’ teen event
Amon Sahelijo (from left), Max Sterner (drums) and Aaron Apack perform Jan. 17 at a District 128 Band Jam to raise awareness for underage drinking and substance abuse. | Joe Cyganowski~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 25, 2013 1:18AM
VERNON HILLS — Despite a disappointing turnout for its District 128 Band Jam on Thursday night, the Community Partnership for Healthy Youth says it will continue putting on “safe” events for students.
Less than two dozen teens were present for the event, which had three bands, including a trio with Jamie Lono, the stage name of 2007 Vernon Hills High School graduate Jamie Thompson who made it onto NBC’s The Voice.
Lono said he was happy to be performing at Thursday’s event at the Sullivan Center, the same place where he works out regularly. Being asked to perform at the event to raise awareness of the problems of underage drinking and substance abuse meant a lot to Lono, he said.
“I don’t use drugs or alcohol. I don’t use anything,” Lono said. “Kids get high and believe it is somehow going to increase enjoyment of their life. I don’t need drugs or alcohol to enhance my life.
“There is nothing wrong with having a drink for individuals (who are legal to drink) to celebrate New Year’s Eve or when having a good day. But some people get to the point where they think they have to drink to be happy,”
After opening his performance with Sweet Thing, an original song, Lono told the teens present they were lucky to have an event like Band Jam that provided a safe, alcohol-free environment.
“I think it is great that the community has an event like this,” Lono said to the teens. “We didn’t have this when I went to Vernon Hills High School.”
Margaret Pither, who heads VHHS’ Student Assistance Program, said despite the event’s lower than expected turnout, other Community Partnership for Healthy Youth initiatives, such as cosmic bowling and dodgeball, planned for later in the year, will go on as planned,
“The programs are an alternative to parties where kids may be drinking or doing drugs,” Pither said.