BRISTOL - B.E.S.T.-4-Bristol youth leaders will travel to Rhode Island to attend the Youth to Youth Conference at Bryant University for a four day retreat. The group of 50 young people will depart via charter bus July 25 from Bristol Youth Services.
B.E.S.T.-4-Bristol, which stands for Bristol Eliminating Substance Use Together, works to reduce youth substance use in the city. The young adult group has been meeting weekly, working with prevention coordinator Christina Sanchez and outreach support worker Stephen Bynum, from Bristol Youth & Community Services.
Helping young people through positive peer programs supports healthy decision-making. Youth to Youth provides that support and an opportunity for leadership training at the conference. Youth in attendance will be joined by hundreds of their peers from across the nation to have an experience that will last a lifetime.
High school teen role models lead the activities, along with Youth to Youth staff and trained community adults. Participants will leave the conference with the enthusiasm and skills to continue to make positive and healthy decisions. Students are also encouraged to get involved in the many community programs that will support and enhance their leadership skills throughout the year.
Since 1982, Youth to Youth has been making a difference by serving as a support network for teens. The program focuses on peer involvement, leadership, alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention, mental health promotion, and violence and bullying prevention.
Through participation in Youth to Youth, young people know that they can positively influence others and will be strongly supported in their drug-free beliefs and other healthy behaviors. They also develop character and skills that will help them grow into competent and caring adults.
“We are preparing to influence our peers. Even changing local ordinances and testifying at state hearings on alcohol, marijuana and nicotine regulation,” said B.E.S.T. Youth Leader Angel Jimenez, sophomore at Bristol Central High School.
Sanchez put a call out to other youth coalitions in the state asking to collaborate. The call was answered by Southington STEPS Youth Coalition and Naugatuck’s Step Up Naugy Youth Coalition, which are traveling together with B.E.S.T.-4-Bristol to the conference.
“We are going to pull up to Bryant University representing Connecticut!” said Sanchez. “It is great to witness and embrace the commodity that forms while these young adults are working together. It aligns with our vision to develop a culture of awareness and sustained action that will promote positive youth development and a healthier community.”
“The 50 of us will show up to the conference in Rhode Island united, representing strength as we collaborate on a state wide effort to reduce youth substance use,” she said.
For more information about B.E.S.T.-4-Bristol, visit www.best4bristol.com or @best4bristol.