Friday Night Live
Building partnerships for positive and
healthy youth development
What is Friday Night Live?
Friday Night Live (FNL) Program builds partnerships for positive and healthy youth development that engage youth as active leaders and resources in their communities. The FNL Program provides county-wide and school-based alcohol and drug prevention activities, as well as programs in wellness, healthy relationships, and leadership. The program engages youth from various backgrounds and interests in a variety of youth-led and youth-focused events.
The FNL Program in Tuolumne County organizes and aids in numerous programs, activities and events. Tuolumne County FNL works closely with the YES Partnership, a community collaborative of more than 30 community representatives dedicated to healthy families and prevention of drug, alcohol and child abuse. Currently, two FNL youth are active YES Partnership members.
Who is Eligible for FNL?
Everyone from 9th grade through 12th grades are welcome to join FNL!
Too young for FNL?
Youth in 6th-8th grades can join Club Live!
FNL is Active at (2) local high schools (grades 9-12)
For the 2022-23 School Year, FNL is active at Summerville High with the "Bears Campus Action" group and Sonora High School with "FNL Youth Action" group. So far, there are Club Live (CL) chapters in the works for Gold Rush Charter School, Summerville Elementary and Columbia Elementary.
Positive youth development opportunities are on the rise in Tuolumne County thanks to a $240,000 FNL grant awarded to expand programs at more local schools. The funds will also provide some funding support for broader campus activities.
Friday Night Live (FNL) programs encourage young people to take the lead on tobacco and drug and alcohol prevention education outreach along with mental health and wellness initiatives. While in FNL groups, students plan campus activities and community service opportunities for their schools and peers.
Through these areas of focus FNL students work together in groups and learn leadership, communication, team-building and problem-solving skills as they plan and execute activities and projects.
There are four different programs provided by the Tuolumne County FNL Partnership (TCFNLP). FNL is for high-school-age youth, Club Live (CL) is for middle schoolers, and Friday Night Live Kids (FNLK) is for the upper-elementary grades. With guidance from advisors, Tuolumne County FNL groups on school campuses can function like clubs or can be co-planned and run with teacher-advisors as electives. TCFNLP also offers FNL Mentoring, which pairs high school and middle school students.
FNL’s Origins Behind the Name
In 1984, FNL programs (which are run in 50 of California’s 58 counties) started out to literally provide safe environments for young people on Friday nights because data indicated that Friday evenings were when the highest number of youth-related traffic fatalities occurred across the state.
Over the years it shifted to a youth development model focused primarily on alcohol and drug prevention strategies and added additional programs to include elementary and middle school students as findings indicated they also needed support. While the original “Friday Night Live” moniker proudly carries the programs’ legacy and continued success it has become a bit of a misnomer since most of the programs happen during or after school.
FNL provides opportunities for students to make meaningful contributions to their schools and communities because the students within each chapter are empowered to work together on the initiatives that they decide are most important to their peers and best serve their schools and communities.
The Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency (ATCAA) administers FNL programs on behalf of the Tuolumne County FNL Partnership (TCFNLP) with support from many county agencies, including the Superintendent of Schools Office (TCSOS), Behavioral Health (TCBH), Public Health (TCPH) and the YES Partnership.
Past Projects, Activities, Current Opportunities
Ahead of the Covid pandemic, FNL students from Summerville High worked with local law enforcement to trace under-age alcohol sales back to the source. They have since developed outreach activities to educate their peers and community about the addictive and elevated dangers of vaping products and how the tobacco industry targets and entices minors into trying and using its products.
In the 2022-23 school year, students at Summerville, alarmed over the exponential increase in youth and adult opioid overdoses and fentanyl poisonings, created outreach tools to educate peers about how to recognize overdose symptoms and how to take life-saving measures. The same school year, students at Gold Rush Charter High School planned student activities designed to help students connect with each other such as a ukulele music circle geared for absolute beginners to those with musical experience. Students at Sonora High began working on a campus scavenger hunt they plan to finish and host for their peers in the fall.
The only criteria for students to join FNL is to want to engage and become involved in a group where the members have fun while building character, learning, and growing various skills that will help them make a positive difference on campus and in the community. As the programs are designed to help develop the inner leader and key contributor in everybody, FNL tends to especially appeal to those who in the beginning might not have seen themselves taking on those roles.
Any school that is interested in starting an FNL program is encouraged to contact ATCAA, the TCFNLP administrator. If there’s already a program at your school that has similar objectives, it can partner with TCFNLP and receive the benefits and support that come with that partnership. For more information and answers to queries email ATCAA Youth Development Coordinator Tori Bors at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or ATCAA Prevention Programs and YES Partnership Director Bob White email@example.com.