IPS Honored for its Work Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community

LOS ANGELES, April 6, 2022 – The Institute for Public Strategies has been recognized by the City of West Hollywood with a proclamation for its work hosting a drug- and alcohol-free New Year’s Eve party known as #BOOM!. The event draws hundreds of attendees annually and is now in its 9th year.

IPS produces #BOOM! to provide an alternative for those who would like to celebrate New Year’s Eve without the presence of alcohol and drugs.

“The holiday season can be a particularly challenging time for people with substance misuse issues and #BOOM! brings the community together in a safe and sober space to promote fun and wellbeing,” West Hollywood City Councilmember John Erickson said at a February City Council meeting while presenting the proclamation.

After having to cancel the 2021 celebration in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, IPS developed #BOOM! 2022 In Your Living Room! – a live broadcast celebration and virtual event that featured celebrity guests, music videos, live musical performances, and a midnight countdown. Participants were given “#BOOM! Boxes” filled with snacks, party favors, a toasting glass, and a non-alcoholic beverage.

Sarah Blanch is Vice President of Organizational Development at IPS and oversees IPS’ Los Angeles projects.

“We are so honored to receive this proclamation. #BOOM! was one of those events that was completely derailed by the pandemic,” Blanch said. “Over the past two years, drug and alcohol use and feelings of isolation have dramatically ticked upward, so we were really trying to reimagine a successful virtual event. We were thrilled to host almost 400 people at our virtual #BOOM!.”

Blanch added that if it hadn’t been for the truly generous support of the West Hollywood City Council, the event probably would have been cancelled.

“Most importantly, 88% of the people who attended #BOOM! in Your Living Room and took the survey said that the event demonstrated that New Year’s Eve can be enjoyed without drugs or alcohol and 80% said that the event helped them stay sober,” Blanch said.

Dean Ambrosini is a prevention coordinator for IPS’ West Hollywood Project and accepted the proclamation on behalf of IPS.

“BOOM! provides support for the recovery community, and it also extends IPS’ mission to shift social norms away from problematic drug and alcohol use,” Ambrosini said. “Despite the virtual format, we got a great turnout and were very encouraged.”

West Hollywood is a vibrant destination with a large LGBTQ+ community that attracts thousands of visitors each week. The city’s club scene is a vital part of the culture and economy, resulting in the pervasive use of alcohol, cannabis and illicit drugs. The IPS WeHo Project’s primary goal is to reduce alcohol- and drug-related harms through issue advocacy and to help change social norms. The WeHo Project is also working with the city council to reduce meth-related harms. Recommendations include more funding for syringe exchange programs and the creation of a trauma-informed sobering site with integrated harm reduction services. IPS’ West Hollywood Community Coalition advocates for these and other policies that would benefit public health and safety.

IPS works alongside communities to build power, challenge systems of inequity, protect health and improve quality of life. IPS has a vision for safe, secure, vibrant and healthy communities where everyone can thrive.

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Paul Levikow
Institute for Public Strategies
(619) 476-9100 ext. 112