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Pre­ven­tion Pro­grams Encour­age Pos­i­tive Choic­es for Teens

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EGHS students met in early September with KYC staff to start planning 2018 YAC activities.

It’s our respon­si­bil­i­ty as a com­mu­ni­ty to pro­vide kids with safe schools where they’re pre­pared to be pro­fes­sion­al­ly suc­cess­ful adults with strong com­mit­ment to their com­mu­ni­ty.” As Prin­ci­pal of Elk Grove High School (EGHS) and the Imme­di­ate Past Chair of the Board for Ken­neth Young Cen­ter, Paul Kel­ly has spent his career work­ing direct­ly with youth and lead­ing edu­ca­tion­al excel­lence in his schools. Our goal is to devel­op eth­i­cal­ly sound, hard-work­ing graduates.”

As part of Elk Grove High School’s com­mit­ment to stu­dents, they part­nered with Ken­neth Young Center’s Pre­ven­tion Team to estab­lish a Youth Advi­so­ry Coun­cil (com­mon­ly referred to as YAC”) to pro­mote pos­i­tive and empow­er­ing pro­grams that decrease the EGHS stu­dent pop­u­la­tion’s alco­hol and drug con­sump­tion rates. Work­ing with 9th-12th graders, YAC strives to cre­ate com­pelling pre­ven­tion activ­i­ties engag­ing both youth and adults to sup­port stronger, safer communities.

YAC is a youth-led, adult-sup­port­ed club at EGHS. School staff and Ken­neth Young Center’s Pre­ven­tion Team work with YAC stu­dent lead­ers to use data-dri­ven strate­gies to com­bat com­mu­ni­ty drug and alco­hol use. Most recent­ly, YAC has focused specif­i­cal­ly on opi­oid addic­tion and pro­vid­ing inclu­sive pro­gram­ming for LGBTQ+ youth. Their mis­sion is to cre­ate a con­nec­tion between Elk Grove High School stu­dents and the Elk Grove community”.

Last school year, YAC stu­dents orga­nized two major events: free com­pli­ments day and SAMHSA’s Nation­al Pre­ven­tion Week. For Free Com­pli­ments” day, YAC mem­bers cre­at­ed posters dur­ing their meet­ings, then sta­tioned them­selves at the two main entrances of EGHS before school on a Mon­day morn­ing. As stu­dents arrived to school that morn­ing, YAC mem­bers shout­ed com­pli­ments to stu­dents. Great style today!” Love your back­pack!” You’re going to have an amaz­ing day!” EGHS stu­dents stat­ed that the morn­ing com­pli­ments pro­vid­ed pos­i­tive ener­gy through­out the school. For SAMHSA’s Nation­al Pre­ven­tion Week, stu­dents orga­nized dai­ly events to match health themes. Themes includ­ed pre­ven­tion of opi­oid use, mar­i­jua­na use, tobac­co use, alco­hol use, and sui­cide, as well as rais­ing aware­ness around men­tal health top­ics to reduce the stigma.

Ray Galarza, Social Work­er at Elk Grove High School shared, YAC at EGHS is a unique club led by stu­dent for stu­dents to assist with var­i­ous issues that might be dif­fi­cult for stu­dents to nav­i­gate dur­ing ado­les­cence. We are cur­rent­ly focus­ing on the fol­low­ing issues/​concerns: Stress and anx­i­ety, sub­stance use, liv­ing healthy lifestyles, and oth­er topics.”

Stu­dents start­ed meet­ing at the end of August to set the new year’s goals to work in tan­dem with com­mu­ni­ty-based ini­tia­tives and projects to pre­vent drug use.

YAC helps to cre­ate com­mu­ni­ty-mind­ed, well-round­ed stu­dents. I’m proud of our Grenadiers and look for­ward to sup­port­ing all our stu­dents as they grow into healthy and hap­py adults.” shared Prin­ci­pal Kelly. 

To get involved with KYC’s Pos­i­tive Youth Devel­op­ment Pro­grams, con­tact Sher­rine Pey­ton at (847) 2854520 for more information. 

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