In June and through out the summer Covid-19 related concerns and social unrest were on everyone’s mind. Public schools were closed but it didn’t stop 76 teen influencers from 29 high schools from meeting virtually to identify issues of concern for students and ways to influence peers to address the concerns.
On October 27th from 4:00-5:15 PM, these influencers along with adult facilitators introduce their messages that foster emotional well-being and substance use prevention. The event, Leaders in the Limelight, will be live streamed from the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown to celebrate their work during the summer to develop messages for multiple platforms that promote substance use prevention, emotional well-being, and healthy lifestyles. The work of these students will be part of a yearlong prevention messaging campaign led by members of the Westchester Coalition for Drug and Alcohol Free Youth Leadership Task Force. The initiative is being rolled out during national Red Ribbon Week which since 1985 is a week to educate youth and encourage participation in drug prevention activities.
Kaitlin Mulgrew, a sophomore at Lakeland HS in Shrub Oak said, “Working with students from other schools was a great experience and helped me understand the extent of the vaping issue which was important in creating a meaningful campaign. It was important in building my ability to make a change, and I’m grateful for it.”
Students from the following high schools participated in the project: Blind Brook, Briarcliff, Bronxville, Carmel, Croton-Harmon, Dobbs Ferry, Fox Lane, Harrison, Hastings, Hendrick Hudson, Horace Greeley, Irvington, Lakeland, Lincoln, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Ossining, Palisade Prep., Peekskill, Pelham (Students Jamie Burke and Emma Van Praagh), Pleasantville, Rye, Saunders, Scarsdale, Somers, Walter Panas, White Plains, Yonkers, and Yorktown.
The Leaders in the Limelight event is a project of the Youth Leadership Task Force in conjunction with the Westchester Coalition for Drug and Alcohol Free Youth and Student Assistance Services Corporation. The Coalition is a countywide organization that supports approximately 25 substance abuse prevention coalitions from approximately 25 Westchester communities and receives funding from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.