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North County teens develop leadership skills


Last updated 6/26/2017 at Noon

FALLBROOK – A small group of Fallbrook and San Marcos teens learned new leadership skills and tools that can be used to help reduce alcohol and drug abuse among their peers at an all-day “Youth Advocacy Leadership Event” at the Fallbrook Community Center June 3.

Sponsored by the North Inland Community Prevention Program and the Fallbrook Regional Health District, the workshop mixed motivational speakers with brainstorming and activity sessions focused on positive leadership attributes, environmental prevention strategies, social media and communication.

Speaker James Wallace, program manager of the nonprofit Mind, Body and Soul Concepts, and speaker Jose Garibay-Najera, a youth development intern with the San Diego County Friday Night Live Partnership, served with NICPP staff members as adult coaches during the brainstorming and activity sessions.

The final session challenged participants to think of teen-friendly social media strategies that would help get alcohol and drug abuse prevention messages to their peers.

Participant Vanessa Hernandez, 13, said she was glad she attended the workshop.

“I had a lot of fun, and I feel like I know a lot more about what makes a good leader and how to be one now,” she said.

Studies show youth who use alcohol and other drugs are at greater risk of developing an addiction, of having more academic problems, and of facing increased risks of alcohol or drug poisoning, assault and other hazards.

National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded research results show prevention programs involving families, schools, communities and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addition.

All the teens at the workshop are members of Youth Advocacy Coalitions in Fallbrook and San Marcos. The coalitions work on youth-related alcohol and drug issues in their communities.

Examples of their past efforts include handing out information about local social host ordinances at DUI checkpoints, organizing and holding community forums and working alongside law enforcement officers during local National Prescription Drug Take Back events.

Workshop participants were asked to use their new leadership skills to try and change social norms and perceptions among teens in Fallbrook, Bonsall, De Luz, Rainbow and other unincorporated areas served by the health district.


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