“ Kids listen to kids better than adults.”  Would you agree? 

Coordinators at the Alliance of SWMO think that helping kids promote the prevention message this is one way to get messages about prevention to20160930_121942 teens.  Peer pressure is often the most powerful influence when it comes to the decisions that teens make.  This is no different when making decisions as important as saying no to alcohol or drugs.  Since 2012 The Alliance of SWMO has been holding Youth Summit’s bi-annually to help teens from area schools get concentrated education on topics like alcohol and drug prevention.  On Friday September 30th high school students gathered at a Youth Summit focused on getting the media’s attention to support a prevention message. 

Teens were divided in to groups by their school, and enjoyed a day of attending sessions on topics such as TV, Radio, Social Media, and the Safe and Sober Campaign.  Throughout the day the students were given information on how media outlets gather their stories, create their media piece and then distribute it to the general public.    At the end of the day the groups were brought together and given a chance to begin crafting a prevention message to implement in their schools.  Experts answered their questions and provided assistance. 

A very brave student spoke up during group discussion and made a passionate statement about the importance of parents in the decisions that teens make.  He said, that if parents would take more time and just show they care it would help keep a lot of teens from going down such negative paths.  This was extremely eye opening for the group – school and event leaders too, as well as the other students.  Adults can get so overwhelmed with day-to-day activities, work, school functions, what bills didn’t get paid, etc. that often small signs that there is something wrong with our kids  can be easily missed.  Sometimes, addiction begins with a legitimate for a pain medication after an injury.  Addiction to these meds can come on very quickly and may be unnoticed.  Be very attentive to your kids and make sure you monitor what they are taking.  Just because a medication is prescribed does not mean your kids have to take it any longer than absolutely necessary. 

The take away from the day was a prevention message created by the students to implement in their own schools to help reduce the rates of teen substance abuse.    If we equip our kids with the prevention tools, we can help them use peer pressure in a positive way.  We can pay attention to the signs and take the issue of teen substance abuse seriously and increase the chances for kids to remain healthy and happy.

NEXT YOUTH SUMMIT
Spring 2017

For more information on our Youth Summit’s please contact Kevin Theilen, Director of Community Involvement at 417-782-9899 or ktheilen@theallianceofswmo.org.

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