Substance use prevention shapes the world around youth, thanks to youth leaders and coalition members who become community change agents. At SATF, we are proud to have a Youth Leadership group that consists of over 20 students from five high schools throughout Barry County. These change agents learn ways to handle pressures and influences in their own lives and help others on a peer level — curbing prejudice, bullying, alcohol and drug use. In addition, being a part of SATF's Youth Leadership group allows teens to realize their personal worth, leadership skills, prevention work and learning positive forms of character building — they spread the message that they are above the influence and encourage others to be above the influence as well. Prevention works and spreading this message among strong youth leaders and their peers is imperative to creating and maintaining community-level change in Barry County.
Each year, our SATF coalition hosts a Youth Leadership Summit (YLS). The summit is strictly for teens, by teens — bringing youth together from across the partnering counties to learn more about issues affecting today's teens. The summit is held as a one-day workshop with a specialized theme, keynote speakers and various breakout sessions.
High school students in each of the 5 districts in Barry County learn about the dangers of tobacco. With the support of our task force, SATF Youth Leaders then go to local 4th grade classrooms and present the material for early prevention.
The SATF Youth Leadership group works with youth from 5 school-districts to promote positive youth development by having youth planned and executed events. Youth work on the annual Youth Leadership Summit, Project Sticker Shock, alcohol and tobacco compliance checks, Teens Against Tobacco Use and host public radio service announcements.
PhotoVoice as a whole is an innovative participatory action research method that gives cameras to traditionally marginalized groups of individuals and asks them to take photos in response to the framing of questions (Wang & Burris, 1997). The Barry County SATF Hastings High School PhotoVoice Project aims to empower local youth to speak about the issues they are currently facing or seeing with alcohol and tobacco, ultimately leading them to action and community change.