Teen Advocacy Coalition sponsors a teen training with Miss Washington.
(RAYMOND, Wash. March, 2015) On Wednesday March 11th, TAC hosted a training opportunity for north Pacific County teens through the Miss Washington Scholarship Program. In partnership with the Education Service District, ESD, 113, the 2014 Miss Washington, Kailee Dunn, met with a group of nine students to teach them about Media Awareness. Specifically, how tobacco and alcohol are marketed towards youth. The high school students will take the information back their schools and present to their peers.
“This is one of the first partnerships between TAC and ESD 113,” Gracie Manlow, TAC Project Coordinator said. “Hopefully we can continue to offer fun opportunities for the students with the help of ESD.”
The students from TAC’s Youth Arm were invited on a first come, first serve basis. Miss Washington met the group of students at the Grays Harbor Riverview Campus. She presented an interactive PowerPoint, alerting them about the varying marketing strategies of big name tobacco and alcohol manufacturers.
“Kailee was very down to earth and made her presentation engaging,” Manlow said. “She used personal anecdotes which made a powerful impact on the students.”
Dunn’s presentation included commercials and magazine ads that are currently running in the media. The advertisements ranged from alcohol, tobacco, electronic cigarettes and marijuana. Dunn explained that these major companies use varying tactics to entice emotional responses out of consumers.
“When looking at beer advertisements, for example, terms like ‘loyalty’ and ‘dependable’ are tossed around,” Dunn said. “This is to create the connection that alcohol ties in friendship or relationships.”
The students were broken up into groups and rehearsed a portion of Dunn’s presentation. Students have access to the resources and PowerPoint used by Dunn. Once the students felt confident enough, they were able to practice their presentation in front of Miss Washington.
“Kailee was great with all the students,” Manlow said. “She gave constructive criticism and seemed very impressed with all of their progress in a short amount of time.”
The trained youth will now have the opportunity to give the presentation at their respective schools. Unanimously, all the students decided this presentation would benefit their Substance Abuse Prevention Week in the spring.
“We want to provide our youth with fun and exciting opportunities,” Manlow said. “If they can learn something valuable in the process, it’s an all-around win.”
Teen Advocacy Coalition plans substance free after party.
The Teen Advocacy Coalition, TAC, is planning an After Prom Party for the three north county high schools. This gathering would happen directly after the Tri-District Prom on May 2nd. Any high school student who attends the prom is invited to the event. TAC’s Youth Arm has been meeting monthly to deliberate and brainstorm exciting ways to end the evening.
This is the first time an event like this has been proposed in north Pacific County. Wellspring Community Network, located on the Peninsula, holds an after prom breakfast at The Lost Roo. After some discussion, TAC decided to bring idea to the Youth Arm.
“Initially, we presented the proposal to our youth,” Gracie Manlow, TAC Project Coordinator said. “They were incredibly eager to being the planning process.”
TAC’s monthly Youth Arm, which is open to any student in north Pacific County, has begun early brainstorming on the party. Students have been suggesting ideas that would be entertaining for everyone attending. Some of the activities include: karaoke, a bouncy house, carnival style games with prizes, and, of course, plenty of food.
“When we suggested the idea of doing a candy bar, using plastic bags to fill with bulk candy, the students were ecstatic,” Tanya Schiller, TAC Administrative Assistant said.
Some other suggestions thrown around by students were: pizza, breakfast burritos, fruit trays and tacos. At this point, TAC staff and youth are considering various locations to host the party. However, as an effort to keep all students as safe as possible, students attending the party must arrive in their prom attire and must stay for the duration of the event.
“We know substance abuse is a problem after big events like prom or graduation,” Manlow said. “By giving the students a healthier option to socialize, we can reduce the amount of drinking and drug use in teens.”
TAC will be funding the After Prom Party using their Drug Free Communities, DFC, Grant. In their 2nd year of the grant, TAC is hoping this event will spark interest in the coalition and provide a platform for other youth activities in the community.
“Part of TAC’s mission is to “promote pro-social activities that will reduce substance abuse in teens’” Manlow said. “We want our youth to have a good time, but we also want them to stay safe. Now is the time to work together as a community to make it a reality.”
Teen Advocacy Coalition calls upon local youth to brainstorm activities for the community.
The Teen Advocacy Coalition, TAC, held a Youth Arm Kickoff event on Monday January 26th at Raymond High School. This was the first meeting for the youth organization and students from Raymond, South Bend and Willapa Valley were invited to attend. The meeting consisted of brainstorming, event planning and plenty of free nachos.
The main agenda items for the Youth Arm Kickoff were: Substance Abuse Prevention Week, An After Prom Party and a visit from Miss Washington. “These events are brand new to the community,” Gracie Manlow, TAC Project Coordinator said. “However, they are youth targeted events, so we definitely need their input.”
The Substance Abuse Prevention Week is an event that was pitched at the 2014 Peer Helper Retreat. Students from Raymond and South Bend submitted a mini grant application requesting funds to host a Drug Free Week within their respective schools. Students and TAC staff discussed that this would be an effective opportunity to include all of north county in a fight against substance abuse.
“Each year, TAC distributes a survey asking students to identify the biggest issues within their schools,” Tanya Schiller, TAC Administrative Assistant, said. “This year, there was an overwhelming response regarding drug and alcohol abuse.”
Students at the Youth Arm meeting were suggesting various ways to implement interactive activities for their peers to get involved in during Prevention Week. The group decided that all three schools will need to be in sync with the events of the week. Each school would host the same spirit days, fact sheets and informative games about substance abuse. The week will be capped off with a tri-district assembly hosted by motivational speaker Scott Backovich.
“Some of the students saw Scott Backovich at a Prevention Summit and were completely blown away,” Manlow said. “We are really excited to have him speak with our students.”
TAC introduced the possibility of hosting an After Prom Party. This, of course, would happen after the tri-district prom and would be a special occasion for students to continue socializing and having fun late into the night. Some idea students threw around included a bouncy house, karaoke or various carnival games. Food and drinks would also be available during this supervised party.
“The After Prom Party is something that has been extremely successful down in Long Beach,” Manlow said. “It’s a chance for students to continue having fun in a safe and substance free environment.”
TAC staff informed students that, on behalf of the Educational Service District, ESD 113, Miss Washington would be visiting north Pacific County. Kailee Dunn, 2014 Miss Washington, will be in the area to create high school ambassadors that share in her cause: preventing substance marketing toward youth. Any interested students were asked to contact TAC Staff immediately.
The meeting was concluded by TAC staff stating how thrilled they were to get this branch of TAC off the ground. “We are beyond excited the Youth Arm is happening,” Schiller said. “After all, we are here for the youth. If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t exist.”