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.”