Friday Night Live leaders from Nipomo High School at their Halloween Carnival, October 2014
Friday Night Live is California's leading youth development and substance abuse prevention program, engaging youth as active leaders and resources in their communities. SLO Friday Night Live coordinates school-based chapters across SLO County. Operating under a youth development framework, the programs provide support and opportunities for young people to develop meaningful skills. This is done while addressing pertinent youth issues, such as underage drinking, other drug use, violence, bullying and mental wellness.
History of FNL
The California Friday Night Live (FNL) Program was developed in 1984 in Sacramento as a pilot program dedicated to reducing the number of deaths and injuries caused by teen motorists driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs. During the first years of the program the youth involved were organized into high school-based “student action groups,” later renamed FNL Chapters. The success rate was so great that in 1988, the California State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs established a statewide office to facilitate the expansion of the program to youth throughout California.
Due to the overwhelming success of Friday Night Live, a middle/junior high school component was developed in 1988. By 1991 this component had been expanded statewide by the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs and named Club Live. In 1990, Friday Night Live Kids was developed, which focused on youth in the fourth through sixth grades. By 1994, 48 counties had also implemented the Club Live Program and/or the FNL Kids Program.
In 1991, an Advisory Committee was launched in San Luis Obispo County with input from parents, youth, educators and drug and alcohol specialists to determine how best to implement FNL in SLO. A kick-off was launched at San Luis Obispo HS and Atascadero HS, with four other high schools soon after. To strengthen the program, a partnership was formed between the County's Department of Drug & Alcohol Services, and a newly established non-profit organization, Friday Night Live of SLO County!
In 1998, San Luis Obispo County Friday Night Live Partnership became one of five pilot counties to launch FNL Mentoring. The same year, SLO County launched FNL Kids in the Lucia Mar Unified School District, followed by SLO County’s Club Live program in 2000. FNL’s expansion in San Luis Obispo County continued in 2003, with the addition of 8 rural schools as part of the Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities grant. By 2004, the San Luis Obispo Friday Night Live program consisted of 30 chapters and a youth council, responsible for the launch of Casey’s Pledge. In 2010, SLOFNL became the first in the state to start a college level FNL chapter when Cal Poly started CP FNL.
Friday Night Live Programs are continually evolving and adapting to the latest trends and problems affecting youth, responding to current prevention research, and addressing the unique needs of each community served. The program’s primary focus is to partner with young people to provide places rich in opportunities and supports where they will be less likely to engage in problem behaviors, more likely to achieve in school, and more likely to attend higher education or secure a full-time job.
Currently, there are Friday Night Live chapters at 13 middle schools, 9 high schools, and 1 university. Students are engaged in projects that include: drug and alcohol awareness and education, distracted driving campaigns, parent engagement activities, cyber-bullying prevention and awareness, reducing the availability of tobacco and alcohol to young people, and positive social events.
Youth Development Framework
Friday Night Live programs utilize a Youth Development Framework, in which adults and youth work together, in partnership, towards programming that is youth-led and youth-driven. Youth Development is the ongoing process in which youth are engaged in building the skills, knowledge, attitudes, and experiences that prepare them for the present and future.