Youth Advisory Committee
The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) is a student leadership group interested in staying substance-free and making a positive impact in their school and the community. Our youth councils work on prevention-related educational activities that are student-focused, such as Use Your Cube and SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week.
National Prevention Week
In 2023, Community Prevention Resources (CPR) partnered with Eldorado Middle School (EMS) to host a school-wide event during NPW. The YAC at EMS determined that friends are one of the most important factors for staying away from underage drinking and prescription drug and opioid misuse. With this in mind, YAC members worked together on projects that would support positive social interactions with their peers which included planning updates to the recess space and designing a banner (pictured below).
In addition, mural artist, Tiffany Black, used the YAC’s banner and responses from a school-wide survey to create a permanent installation near the recess area that highlights positive alternatives that keep EMS students away from substance use.
EMS students stepped up and spun away from substance misuse. They decided to make a difference by focusing on awareness days dedicated to Strengthening Community Resilience: Substance Misuse and Overdose Prevention and Preventing Substance Use and Promoting Mental Health. Students identified hanging out with friends as one of the top reasons that keeps them away from substance use, so the YAC showed their support by renovating the courtyard to create a gathering space for their school community. To build community resilience, students painted stepping stones and rocks that highlighted positive alternatives to prescription and opioid misuse. Students also shared how they support positive mental health and why they spin away from underage drinking with large pinwheels and a pinwheel tunnel that all the students can sign to show their support.
EMS students and the YAC wanted to highlight why most of their peers are choosing to stay substance-free. They partnered with the Regional Office of Education #21, Community Prevention Resources, and WSIU Public Broadcasting to help get the word out and addressed awareness by creating a short film demonstrating peer pressure techniques in real scenarios, along with question and answer interviews of students and staff around their school. In addition to the video, statistics from SAMHSA.gov, cdc.gov, and iys.cprd.illinoi.edu were shared over social media.