Youth = Powerful Advocates for Change
From Nancy Gannon Hornberger, CEO
Do you know about Advocates for Change Today (ACT)? ACT is a youth-led effort, staffed and convened by SAY San Diego, and devoted to improving community health and safety, especially in the area of drug and alcohol abuse prevention. ACT operates year-round and involves youth leaders, ages 12-16, as part of SAY’s larger Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug prevention programs in the Central Region.
In June 2017, ACT said a fond farewell to their graduating seniors, but with the addition of 10 new high school youth members and two new middle schoolers, the program is busier than ever! They focus on prevention by acting to improve the community environment in City Heights. In addition to leading peer workshops on topics such as the dangers of impaired driving and drug- and violence-free prom and graduation, ACT youth leaders also engage the larger community. To raise awareness and active concern among community and business partners, ACT members designed hanger tags and colorful posters as platforms for their advocacy and made connections at frequently-visited community spaces – including Hoover High, City Heights Library, Fair@44 and the YMCA, as well as businesses including Tasty Pizza, Yum Yum Yo Boba Shop, Starbucks, Denny’s, El Super, Jamba Juice and CVS – asking management to display them in high-visibility areas where teens tend to congregate.
We are especially proud that ACT youth recently had the opportunity to present their achievements at the county-wide Youth Leadership Partnership Meeting, and to attend La Colonia Eden Gardens Leadership Camp in Julian. Future ACT youth-led projects include conducting store assessments of all liquor stores and markets on El Cajon Blvd. to support the Live Well San Diego Community Market Program, and promoting Prescription Drug Take Back Day (October 28, 2017) as part of Binational Health Week.