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Trimble County High School Youth from the Trimble CARES Coalition in Bedford, participated in Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s National Youth Leadership Initiative in Nashville, Tenn. The NYLI was part of CADCA’s 2012 Mid-Year Training Institute, which brought together more than 1,900 substance abuse prevention specialists and advocates from throughout the country to learn new strategies to tackle their community’s substance abuse problems.
Ashby Drake, Dakota Brown, Chaylan Sedam, and Wyatt Adkins were among the 500 youth to participate in this inspiring and informative conference. Their youth advisors on this trip were Barbara Schaum, Trimble CARES Coalition Chairperson and Denise Hall, Drug Free Communities Project Director.
CADCA’s NYLI is unlike any other youth program. Through a combination of education, collaboration, training and advocacy young people along with their adult advisors learn how to implement CADCA’s community problem-solving model. Youth learn to identify their community’s needs and resources, analyze problems and goals, develop a logic model to address their local problems, and finally create an intervention plan utilizing CADCA’s “Seven Strategies for Community Change.” They also engage in “Youth In Action” projects, which allow them to apply what they learned during the NYLI program in their communities. These projects are the foundation for youth-led civic change at the local level.
For the youth, an important aspect of the training was being able to take strategies back home to the coalition to implement in their community and school.
“CADCA’s NYLI has helped develop these young people to be strong community leaders, While some of their peers may be engaging in risky behaviors like drug or alcohol use, they are proof that this behavior is not a ‘rite of passage’ to adulthood. Instead, they are role models that can refrain from this activity and use the training learned at the NYLI to be a ‘change agent’ in their own school and community.
An independent evaluation of CADCA’s NYLI conducted by Michigan State University, found that the NYLI leads to an increase in the leadership competencies, community organizing and problem solving abilities related to drug use and alcohol issues among youth who participate. In addition, there were significant changes in current and future civic activism levels in the areas of civic and political engagement among NYLI participants.
Recently, the coalition has worked on securing a prescription drug drop box in the Bedford Courthouse for safe disposal of expired prescription and over-the-counter medications. The students are currently working on a plan to increase awareness and educate the community to remove prescription accessibility to the youth in Trimble County.
The Trimble CARES Coalition meets the 4th Wednesday of each month at noon in the Cooperative Extension Office. All are welcome to attend. Please call Denise Hall at 502 255-5110 X 1044 for any questions.