Teens Educate on Drug Prevention

drug free browardWhen it comes to preventing substance misuse, knowledge is power, and United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention has empowered two sisters from Broward County to not only learn, but to share their knowledge with others. Twins Angela María and Andrea Francesca Ventura recently returned from Dallas, TX, where they made a presentation at the national Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) Mid-Year Youth Training Institute. 

Angela and Andrea received scholarships to participate in CADCA’s Key Essentials course at the Youth Training Institute, provided this year for the first time in Spanish. During the training, they had the opportunity to present to youth from different countries and also to speak about prevention work to governmental representatives of Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico. 

“CADCA and United Way are doing an amazing job implementing the Social Development Model,” said Andrea. The Social Development Model is an evidence-based framework that fosters positive youth development and increases protective factors for youth by promoting healthy beliefs; clear standards; opportunities for bonding, active participation and meaningful involvement; and skills development, as well as recognition for the efforts. Andrea and Angela have been part of the Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention’s Broward Youth Coalition (BYC) for five years and have been volunteers, presenters and speakers at events including United Way’s Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) and the Rising Above Stigma conference. 

For many years, United Way of Broward County has been promoting healthy school, family and community environments, working with parents, teachers and youth and equipping them with skills, knowledge and resources to increase protective factors for young people in the community. 

“Thanks to United Way, teens in Broward County are getting engaged in meaningful activities and are making healthy decisions,” said Angela. 

United Way of Broward County’s Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention is a broad-based substance misuse prevention and mental health promotion coalition dedicated to reducing negative consequences on individuals, families and communities. The Commission on Behavioral Health & Drug Prevention is a vital component of United Way of Broward County’s three impact areas (health, education and financial stability) focused on the solutions to close gaps in services and create a better life for all. 

Following their successful participation at CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute, the Ventura sisters plan to continue promoting the importance of coalition work. They also are working to support advocacy efforts to raise Florida’s statewide smoking age from 18 to 21 for tobacco, electronic cigarettes and vaporizers.

For more information about the Broward Youth Coalition, contact Emilia Vilaire-Monchery at [email protected] or Jenna Stein at [email protected]