WASHINGTON COUNTY — Members of the Washington County Youth Coalition traveled to the National Youth Leadership Initiative conference Feb. 1-4 where they met with other youth coalition groups from across the country, as well as Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee and Rep. Chris Stewart, to learn ways to better serve the Washington County community.
One of the perks of being in the group, comprised of 49 youth from Washington County high schools, is being able to travel and collaborate with other youth and adults in the prevention field and receive training on how to better serve the community and promote drug and alcohol free youth lifestyles, the coalition said in an email to St. George News.
Coalition members who attended the conference, hosted by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, received important drug abuse prevention information to be taken back to further educate their peers and youth in their respective high schools throughout Washington County.
“(The conference) has influenced amazingly effective youth groups across the nation, and we are honored to have the opportunity to learn from them and their award winning team,” the group said in the email.
The group said one of their intentions is to improve the health of fellow Utah youth by trying to raise awareness about the unknown dangers of electronic cigarettes and to encourage policy makers to place regulations on these nicotine delivery systems to protect those in the community. During their time in Washington D.C., the group was able to share their concerns with Hatch, Lee and Stewart.
“Being able to see the positive changes made in our community that is produced from our hard work and dedication to prevention, is among the greatest rewards we see,” they said in the email, “and we’re grateful for the opportunity that we have to represent our peers on the Washington County Youth Coalition back here in Washington D.C.”
The group members who attended the conference were Snow Canyon High School students Abigail Dickie, Natalie Grisier and Dallen Moody; Tuacahn High School student Cierra Parkinson; Dixie High School student August Wood; and Pine View High School student Jarom Price.
Dickie, the coalition’s president, said any youth wanting to join or learn more about the group should speak with their high school counselor or visit the coalition Facebook page.
Moody said the service which the coalition does is all voluntary and that he enjoys getting to help his peers improve their lives.
“It’s not about the recognition we get but we get to help our community improve,” he said. “Joining the Washington County Youth Coalition I’ve learned lots of facts and we have made a difference and it’s a great thing to know.”
Among the service projects the coalition has participated in was passing out “quit kits” to the homeless community in November at SwitchPoint Community Resource Center in St. George to help people quit smoking.
The kits included water bottles containing gum, mints and toothpicks as a way to help occupy the mouth with something other than a cigarette.
“We are a volunteer youth group driven to create a healthier, safer and better community through drug prevention,” WCYC Mentor and Southwest Public Health Department Health Educator Kaysha Price said. “We make community change while having fun.”
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