Students from Anderson County joined more than 400 youth leaders from across the state at a recent Tennessee Teen Institute. The Tennessee Teen Institute is a five-day youth leadership and prevention camp sponsored by the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency.
The Anderson County Health Department and ASAP (Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention) sponsored two teams of six youth to participate in TTI, one from Anderson County High School and one from Clinton High School.
“This is the third year we have been able to sponsor youth to attend the Teen Institute, and it has shown an excellent return,” said Stephanie Strutner, ASAP executive director. “Students return energized to serve as peer leaders and make positive changes in their schools.”
This was the 27th year of the Teen Institute Program in Tennessee, a press release said. The program addresses teen issues such as bullying, violence, suicide, teen pregnancy, distracted driving, teen health, and substance abuse prevention through a five-day, peer-led prevention camp designed to provide teen participants with the skills and education necessary to develop and implement alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs in their own communities.
“Through training we receive at TTI, I am better equipped to continue to lead by example and take action to help other students in my community to choose not to use,” said Reagan Wolfe, Clinton High School senior.
TTI is a comprehensive program that trains, mobilizes, and empowers youth to prevent the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and self-destructive behaviors in themselves and their peers, the press release said. TTI prepares students to not only make positive changes, but to be proud advocates of those changes. Students will have the opportunity to grow and learn as individuals, while enhancing their leadership abilities. Because TTI is peer-led, teens are given a unique opportunity to have a “voice” in addressing issues important to them. Giving youth some ownership in this type of program is one of the key factors in the success of enforcing a substance-free lifestyle.
The students who attended the Tennessee Teen Institute are part of the ASAP Youth Coalition, which consists of high school students from the local community who are dedicated to preventing and reducing substance abuse in their schools and community. For more information on how to join the ASAP Youth Coalition, call (865) 457-3007 or visit www.ASAPofAnderson.org.