There’s just no stopping the amazing Youth Action Teams across the state! Each team, made up of middle and high school students, works to create positive community change by implementing various prevention projects throughout the year. Their continued dedication and efforts are truly extraordinary! Youth Action Teams began working on their latest projects at Georgia Teen Institute this past summer, and have since implemented these projects with youth and adults in their communities.
One of the main components of being a Youth Action Team is agreeing to participate in Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week takes place in October of each year and is a time to spread awareness about the importance of remaining drug and alcohol free. Our teams did an incredible job of just that and we’re excited to share a few highlights with you!
AVPRIDE hosted a Fayette County Town Hall Meeting to provide a place to have a collective conversation about the underlying causes of alcohol and drug use in the community. Judge Hatchett was the keynote speaker, and more than 350 people received prevention tools and resources. Youth Action Team members played a large role in planning and implementing the Town Hall Meeting, and the community is better as a result.
The Walton County Youth Advocacy Board created their own Red Ribbon Week Campaign, Paint Walton Red. They engaged the community in multiple ways, such as asking various organizations and agencies to display specific prevention messages, handing out informational brochures at events and businesses, participating in a social media campaign related to why people should remain drug and alcohol free and participating in a text campaign for community members to sign a drug-free pledge. As a result of their dedicated efforts, more than 2,800 people learned about the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.
Gators with HEARTS, a brand new Youth Action Team, started from scratch with their Red Ribbon Week efforts. They organized events with local schools, such as airing informational videos about the dangers of drug use, created various dress up days to celebrate being drug free and posted prevention messages on school sidewalks. They also spread their prevention messages to local businesses and organizations. Through their hard work and dedication, prevention messages were shared with more than 1,300 people in Ware County.
Several Youth Action Teams also received proclamations from their local governments declaring Red Ribbon Week in their communities. Congratulations to Crisp County Youth Advisory Council, Douglas Alcohol Prevention Project, Dual County Defenders, GUIDE Youth Advisory Board, Spalding County Youth Advisory Council, Students Konstantly Working Against Destructive Decisions, Troup County Youth Advisory Board and Walton County Youth Advocacy Board on a job well done!
In addition to Red Ribbon Week, various Youth Action Teams have participated in several other prevention projects to get the word out about remaining drug and alcohol free.
Advantage Behavioral Health Systems, Mitchell County Youth Advisory Council and Walton County Youth Advocacy Board participated in sticker shock campaigns where they placed prevention messages on alcohol bottles at local retailers. In total, they worked with 15 stores and reached approximately 3,000 people in their communities. Teams also worked to spread prevention messages about marijuana and prescription drug use. Troup County Youth Advisory Board provided information about the dangers of marijuana use at a summer series and had 30 youth sign a pledge to remain drug and alcohol free. They also participated in a Prescription Drug Take Back Event and were able to collect 25 pounds of unwanted or expired medications.
We are so proud of the amazing work that’s taking place in Georgia because of these incredible Youth Action Teams! The world is a better place because of their commitment to their communities. Are you interested in becoming a Youth Action Team but don’t know how to get started? Contact Mary Kate Chapman, the Georgia Teen Institute Director, to learn how you can get involved.