Two Hutchinson High School youth attended a national drug abuse prevention conference recently in Washington.
Sophomores Taylor Lang and Abbey Pemberton along with sponsor, Carla Smith, attended the 27th Annual National Leadership Forum of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. The event drew more than 3,000 substance abuse prevention specialists and advocates to Washington in early February.
The three of them attended the National Youth Leadership Institute where they learned about strategic framework planning and logic models. The students then worked to find seven interventions to address underage use of marijuana in Reno County and practiced presenting in front of 150 other students.
CTC and others have impacted Reno County. The county has seen its rate of binge drinking among high school seniors drop from 21 percent to 15 percent in two years.
During the trip, the CTC representatives met with Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and key staff members for Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., at their offices on Capitol Hill Feb. 8. The students reminded the senators that continuing to spend money on prevention saves the money that will be needed later for substance abuse, treatment and recovery.
“I had a wonderful time taking part in the annual CADCA Forum on Prevention,” Pemberton said. “I felt incredibly fortunate to represent Communities That Care and the positive influence we project on others. Attending the Forum provided me with tools and knowledge that will allow me to improve my efforts to bring prevention awareness to my peers and other youth. Traveling to D.C. as a high school student was an amazing and monumental experience that I know will help me further succeed in the future.”
“It was great to spend time with so many other like-minded individuals who are seeing the same challenges we see,” Smith, CTC program coordinator and youth sponsor, said. “It was also good to spend time learning new tools and about each other’s successes. It is energizing to work together.”
For more information, visit the Forum website for details about training sessions, speakers, and special events at cadca.org/events/forum2017