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Intern Update: Y2Y Conference

Filed in Community/PACT, Internships, News, Youth by on August 8, 2016 • views: 340
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Y2Y Conference 2016“This conference allowed me to meet new people and have new friends. It made me feel good about myself and allowed me to open up without judgment.”

From July 28-31, the 2016 Pelham PACT summer interns attended the Youth to Youth International Eastern States Conference, held at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Ten students (and one brave adult) joined a large group from all over Westchester County to attend the event, which had a focus on youth-led substance use prevention. So let’s hear from the PACT interns about their experience:

“The Y2Y conference was a good opportunity to learn from other people who are affiliated with drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs. Many of the workshops they offered focused on confidence, self-esteem, and accepting yourself for who you are. In addition, we also learned about harmful substances and how their abuse can be avoided.”

“Things I got out of Y2Y Conference 2016:

  • A better understanding of how prevalent drug abuse is and how detrimental it can be to someone’s life and the lives of their loved ones.
  • A bunch of ideas for how PACT Teen Events can be more effective and fun.
  • Lots of new friends!”

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The conference included three speakers—Javier Sanchez, Harriet Turk, and Matt Bellace—and workshops on leadership skills, healthy choices, drug and alcohol use and abuse, and more. Each student was placed in a Family Group, where they were encouraged to open up about the issues they see in their communities, how they can make change, and what they are learning during their time in Rhode Island.

“I enjoyed the speakers and the workshops and learned a lot to bring home to Pelham. I liked my family group because it was a time to touch base with our families and discuss what we learned and bond with each other.”

“My workshops were informative and the speakers were incredible. I loved the chants and the songs and games everyone did; it really demonstrated a sense of community. It was a great experience and I would definitely come back next year!”

“In my family group, the people opened up and shared their stories. Through this, I learned that addiction really does affect teens. I have learned the dangers of misusing prescriptions and how it can lead to heroin use and other highly addictive drugs.”

IMG_2451There were also presentations and skits from the youth staff, including a program on the dangers of prescription drug misuse. And each night concluded with a fun group activity, including swimming, karaoke, laser tag, basketball, and a conference-wide dance on the final night.

“The Y2Y Conference was a great opportunity for me and everyone else here to try new things without fear of being judged and expressing ourselves freely. All in all, it was a very fun experience that also educated us in many different ways and allowed us to learn new things about ourselves.”

“I now have new plans and ideas I can bring back to Pelham, including new ways to get messages out to the community teens and their parents. Y2Y Eastern States allowed me to escape my comfort zone and move into my challenge zone.”

IMG_4627Each summer, Youth to Youth offers tremendous leadership opportunities for high school students and the adults who work with them. Our one-of-a-kind conference experience, led by trained teens alongside adults, is the training that groups across the country count on annually to serve as a vital catalyst to initiate or improve their youth prevention programming. The Pelham PACT summer interns attend the conference as part of their internship program, and have truly built up a great community.

“There are no negatives going on here. Just positive and peace.”

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