TAC sent four students and two adults to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Youth Leadership Initiative conference in Indianapolis, IN. The conference was an opportunity for youth coalitions from all over the country to identify problems and potential solutions in their community. The conference was held from Monday August 3rd – Thursday August 6th.
“TAC has talked about sending students to a conference like this for a while,” Gracie Manlow, TAC Project Coordinator said. “The fact the students were able to get so much out of the conference is an added bonus.”
The students were asked to identify a single problem statement for their community. Interestingly enough, the students from Raymond and South Bend High Schools, claimed underage marijuana use is the biggest problem within their community.
“We weren’t exactly surprised that the students identify marijuana use as a big problem,” Manlow said. “Our data shows that youth perception is marijuana is ‘safe'.
Students worked with CADCA mentors and experts to pinpoint specific causes and solutions for their community. Ideas included: increasing compliance checks, working with the local school districts on their current marijuana policy and informing the public on the dangers of underage marijuana use.
Moving forward, the students plan to present their project at the annual Peer Helper Retreat and continue working. Hopefully the project will gain momentum and support from other students in the community.
“Despite the fact the students are from different schools, they all did an amazing job coming together for a common cause: reducing underage marijuana use,” Manlow said.