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By Amarii Sandoval, WPC Youth Leadership Member
In February of this year, I had the opportunity to attend the 29th annual National Leadership Forum led by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). The forum was made up of students and adults who wanted to further their knowledge of the many issues our youth face today. Each day, there were new and interesting workshops we attended that addressed ways we can improve our communities.
There were a couple of workshops I thought were the most interesting, and most shocking, which were about suicide among youth. The most striking statistic is that, according to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for youth ages 15-24.
As a teen, I’ve seen anxiety and depression become more common among my peers, and being a very empathetic person, it’s difficult to realize how many people must feel alone and lost. It is even harder to grasp the reality that so many people have considered or attempted suicide.
Another great part of the experience was getting to meet with a representative from the office of Rep. Mike Levin. Along with other youth coalition members, we got to speak to Robbie Farewell, who is a senior legislative assistant for Congressman Levin. We spoke about what we do as a coalition and provided information on some of the biggest issues that San Clemente youth face today. Speaking to Mr. Farewell was a totally new and amazing opportunity for me. Our coalition is very grateful for the time that Congressman Levin’s office gave us and that they expressed wanting to become more involved in what we do. I am excited to work further with him to improve our community in San Clemente and in Orange County in general.
Overall, attending the National Leadership forum was a very educational and amazing experience that I was glad to be a part of. I’m very thankful for the Wellness & Prevention Center for giving me this opportunity, and I am excited to use what I learned to change our community for the better.
More information on the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America can be found at cadca.org. A list of the nonprofit’s policies are outlined within the website and additional resources can be found.
Amarii Sandoval is a junior at San Clemente High School who has lived in San Clemente her entire life. She has been a member of Wellness & Prevention Coalition-led SCShift youth coalition, which focuses on prevention of youth substance use, for one year and enjoys doing work that betters her community.
If you or your teens would like to participate in community change through the Wellness & Prevention Coalition, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Consider signing up for our bi-monthly informational emails at www.wpc-oc.org and scroll to the bottom of the home page.