Impact summit to be held this week


Impact Prevention will be holding its Scioto County Youth Summit this week, with 120 youth participating in building life skills that will play a role in expanding the impact program into schools and improving mental health and drug prevention numbers. This summit is a first for Scioto County’s Impact Prevention.

“One of the things we do is youth-led prevention, where we empower the youth to become community change agents by teaching them evidence-based strategies to implement in their schools and their communities,” Eddie Neel, of Impact Prevention said.

The strategies and prevention techniques will be taught to students in prevention clubs throughout the county.

“We have teams in several of the high schools in Scioto County and we work with those high schoolers, a group of 15 to 20 kids, and they’ll tell us the problems they face,” Neel said. “They may say they have a vaping problem, or they need stress reduction techniques, or their school has a high suicide tendency rate. So, whatever they determine is their problem in their school, we help them to come up with strategies to help improve those situations.”

The classes are taught peer-to-peer and Neel said that is part of the program’s success.

“A big component of that is youth doing peer-to-peer programs,” Neel said. “Students will go into the middle schools and talk about vamping or stress, mental health promotion. Our youth council has planned what they think other high schoolers need throughout the county.”

The summit will highlight on focus areas that the student council came up with.

“They’ve provided lessons on leadership, assertiveness, how to be a friend, and what to look for in a friend. The youth, 10 to 12 of them, on Thursday, will be leading lessons on those topics and mixing in fun team building activities.”

100 students from 10 Scioto County schools will be in attendance to learn from the council of fellow students.

According to Neel, the Impact Prevention team has held training sessions on these topics with the council, so they are prepared for their training of the 100 high school students.

“They’re the ones putting their touch on the lessons and will be implementing them come Thursday,” Neel said. “I think that, no matter how awesome our staff is, it is proven the youth is much more effective at reaching youth. These students will be much more receptive to their peers telling them how to be a good leader, verses an adult.”

The training is a combination of interactive lessons and lectures in small group rotations of a 25 to 3 ratio.

“It empowers them, gives them skills, sharpens existing skills, and gives the students who attend the opportunity to return to their own schools with these skills to strengthen their school teams or start their own,” Neel said. “Some of the schools attending don’t have their own team, so this is also a recruitment opportunity for us to grow into more schools.”

Impact Prevention meets with the schools once per month moving forward and a school staff member is also available to lead them in-between meeting days. The groups have many events and functions to promote positivity in their schools, according to Neel.

“There has been so much focus on treatment and that is way down the stream by the time someone is involved in the misuse of a substance,” Neel said. “We want to get in front of that and we want to catch kids at a young age to make healthier decisions.”

Reach Joseph Pratt at (740) 353-3101, by email at [email protected], © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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