I want to preface this letter by saying that one of my favorite things to do is meet my best friend on a summer day at Open Outcry Brewing Co. and have a beer, pizza and salad. I also love watching a sunset with a glass of wine.

I was not an angel growing up and have enjoyed my share of drinks. However, I’ve made careless decisions when alcohol was involved that I wish I could go back and erase from my memory. I have also been hurt by the consequences of someone who consumed too much alcohol.

That being said, in the years since my children entered school on the South Side, there is a question that I constantly wrestle with: Why do so many school and church functions that are family-focused have and need alcohol?

I walked into my child’s school recently and was captured by a sign promoting an event using graphics of a beer mug and wine glass.

Not three hours later, I pulled up to my other child’s school, and it was displaying a similar sign.

What is the message we are telling our children?

Our children have learned at a young age that having fun, being at social events, connecting with friends and attending sporting events all need alcohol, and if you aren’t drinking, well, you may just be a little different and not belong.

Help me understand how alcoholism plagues our neighborhood, yet we celebrate many functions—from father-daughter dances to block parties to parish picnics to Little League and football games to fundraisers to funeral luncheons—with alcohol. 

Am I the only one who wonders about this?

I reached out to both schools, and administrators were understanding and saw the point I was making.

Carly Carney