An earlier version of this newsletter included an incorrect URL for an event referenced below. We have corrected that URL and apologize for any confusion this may have caused.
Why We Believe in Youth-Led Prevention
We spend a lot of time talking about how the majority of young people do not use drugs or alcohol. However, in this email, we’re going to talk about a minority of youth who go the extra mile.

This small number of teens make the courageous choice to put themselves out there as standing for making responsible choices and supporting their peers. They also have the courage and passion to become leaders in their schools and communities and to bring prevention to their peers. 
It's likely that many young people can relate to 15-year-old freshman Youth Council member Samuel Arledge on why he wanted to be a part of this movement of young people:

I joined youth-led prevention to make a change among my peers and promote positive life choices."

For 16-year-old Jade Eilers, youth-led prevention became her way for her to fight against the cynicism and the hopelessness that threatens to overwhelm youth when they aren't able to command their own narrative:

“We are constantly told we are too young to do anything, yet it’s our generation that’s screwing things up. We are often confused and frustrated by this. When you don’t know what you stand for or who you are, you can get pushed into the wrong directions easily.”

Jade and Samuel are just two of the thousands of youth across Ohio who have risen to challenge negative stereotypes that young people are powerless and poor decision-makers and who are working to make their voices heard at this year's We Are The Majority Rally. This event is hosted every year by the Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network at Prevention Action Alliance with funding from the Ohio Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services. We’ll demonstrate the power of youth change agents and raise awareness around the fact that the majority of youth choose not to use drugs and alcohol.

Registration is easy and free, but space is limited. Learn more about the WATM Rally and reserve your spot by registering at preventionactionalliance.org/watm
Reminder: Rally Speech Contest Open!

Want to have youth from your region represented at the We Are The Majority Rally? Ask them to submit a speech to oylpn@preventionactionalliance.org by April 2, 2020. For more information, including speech prompt and selection criteria, please view our submission guidelines.
Highlights from Advocacy Day
Nearly 70 prevention advocates representing 20 organizations participated in 25 appointments during Prevention Action Alliance’s Advocacy Day. This annual event creates an opportunity for members of our various networks, including youth-led prevention groups, to visit with their legislators in the Ohio Senate and House and educate them on prevention priorities. Participants received folders full of fact sheets and updates on bills related to our field, including legislation to adopt health education standards in the state of Ohio ( House Bill 165/ Senate Bill 121) and House Bill 123 regarding "school security and youth suicide awareness education and training".
Five Youth Council members participated in the event, including Samuel Arledge, Josh Poole, Grant Henry and Lipika Narisetti (pictured above); Logan Kazelman attended on behalf of the Tuscarawas Anti-Drug Coalition. Youth Council members advocated for the adoption of the aforementioned health education standards; sustained, flexible funding for prevention; and retailer licensing for e-cigarettes to increase enforcement of Ohio's Tobacco 21 law.
Advocacy Day is a great way to begin a relationship with your state legislators, but you don't have to wait for next year's event to get acquainted with your representatives! You can always call their offices or schedule an appointment with them to advocate for or against a piece of legislation, educate them about the importance of prevention, introduce yourself and your group, and invite them to youth-led or coalition activities in your community. To find out who your legislator is, visit legislature.ohio.gov.
Northeast Youth Summit Coming Up on March 13
Are you interested in recognizing your current youth leaders in Northeast Ohio and being part of the vibrant and growing Ohio youth-led movement?

Would you like the opportunity to have your leaders learn advanced leadership skills, and how to be a voice in their community from Adam Fletcher, a nationally recognized author and advocate for youth voice?

If so, please join us for our extremely energetic, highly motivational and interactive Youth Summit on March 13th from 9-1:30pm at Auburn Career Center .

This is an excellent opportunity to learn more about the evidenced-based prevention model used in Ohio’s youth-led programs to enhance your current leadership groups. The Youth Summit will help you move your current leadership programs to an empowerment model, and benefit your leaders, counselors and advisers immediately.

Please visit the link below for additional information and to register.

Due to the interactive nature of the Youth Summit, registration is limited, so please register as soon as possible. The deadline is March 6 .

This event is no cost and lunch is provided. The Auburn Career Center is conveniently located just off I 90 in Lake County.
Questions? Comments? Suggestions?