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Youth advocate workshop empowers teens

OCEANSIDE — Teens from South Bay to Fallbrook attended a daylong series of workshops that taught them how to network, polish public speaking skills and execute an anti-drug campaign June 30.
Many of the students who attended the advocacy training workshops, organized by the North County Prevention Coalition and Vista Community Clinic, are members of anti-drug groups in their communities.
Kinney Hines, 18, is co-chair of North County Prevention for Youth and has worked on several anti-drug campaigns and spoken out against drugs before Oceanside City Council.
“We work with law enforcement and adults to help get our message across,” Hines said.
Hines said he has a lot in common with other teens at the workshops and found out that youth groups in all parts of San Diego County are working to raise awareness on the same anti-drug issues.
Megan Carnow, 17, is a member of San Dieguito Youth. Carnow has decided that taking drugs is something she does not want to be a part of after she observed the ill effects of drinking and taking drugs firsthand.
“My friend Sam Roberts died from drinking too much,” Carnow said.
Carnow says there is still peer pressure to take drugs, but she works to surround herself with good influences and be a sound role model for her younger sister.
Carnow said she was impressed to see the wide network of support at the training.
Teens in attendance broke into small groups to get expert advice and coaching on delivering an anti-drug campaign. Tips were shared on rallying support, setting a goal, and delivering an anti-drug message.
Each small group determined a campaign goal to work on during the day. Student campaigns opposed outdoor restaurant smoking, selling alcohol to underage youth and careless discarding of cigarettes butts.
After honing their skills, groups produced anti-drug videos as their final projects.
“The work today is just a start,” Jovonne Dempster, prevention specialist for the North County Prevention Coalition, said.
Dempster hopes youth will take the skills they learned at the workshops and put them to use this summer.