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In an effort to help high school students make smart decisions, KEYC-TV in Mankato, Minn., sponsors a "Think Before You Drink" public service announcement (PSA) program. Area youth have the opportunity to write, produce and star in PSAs addressing illegal underage drinking. "The idea is simple," said KEYC’s Jan Ellanson. "The message will be better received if written and delivered by the peers of those listening." The spots are aired on KEYC throughout prom and graduation season when drinking and driving accidents often spike among America’s youth. In 2007, Maple River, Jackson County West, Mankato West and Madelia high schools participated in the program. Each school received at least 100 plays of the announcement its students created. The spots, produced by KEYC production staff, often involve participation from the community and have been filmed in hospitals, jails, schools and cemeteries. This year, the messages are particularly timely, as Minnesota recently lost four of its youth to accidents involving alcohol in a four-month period.
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