Dearborn County CASA started this concept 13 years ago where our Youth Ambassadors present workshops or as we like to call them LEARNSHOPS to eight grade students. The learnshops are 40 minutes each and there are seven of them for attendees to experience throughout the day As well as several educational stations and much more/. Topics included are: Alcohol, Drugs, Vaping, Descion making and others that vary with the teen social climate. We build the framework for this knowing that in person peer to peer activities encourage the best memory retention in relation to these topics based on assessments we've collected over the past five years at previous summits. Each learnshop also hinges on a physical or mental challenge that makes them “hands on”. Offering hands-on activities benefits all types of learners by providing opportunities for all types of learners to observe as well as perform. Hands-on training can expose students to challenges and obstacles they may encounter and gives them an opportunity to practice their problem solving skills. Since the learnshops are run by teens and not adults students tend to feel more comfortable and participate more freely. The non lecture type groupings also prevent the “By-Stander effect” that you get with allot of large scale auditorium convocations.
Our Youth Ambassador program is unique in the southeastern Indiana area and throughout the years, we have had 7 named "Student Volunteer of the Year" and 3 named "Runner Up" by Prevention FIRST of Greater Cincinnati. They consist of youth from all over the county and represent all three public schools districts as well as home schoolers and private schools. There are currently 32 of them from across the county who give freely of their time and energy –outside of school and other responsibilities- that is true community service!
Everything that the ambassadors do they do in the name of substance abuse prevention. Innovative peer leadership models can bring about a solution in schools and communities where false beliefs about use can put students at risk. Virtually every member of a community has a vital role to play in keeping kids safe and drug-free. Whole-school, family and community involvement are among the most powerful ways to help build a climate of non-use, and giving a voice to students who are already committed to making healthy decisions can offer a significant impact on that effort.
The 2018 Summit saw the introduction of a more "hands on" based learning experience by tackling Juul with a special "teen" perspective.
During the 2017 summit substance use in social media was a topic in the forefront. This was the year we introduced our social media initiative #idareyou
Creating opportunities for youth to work together was the 2016 theme and our DCYA ranks more than doubled!
The Honorable Judge James D. Humphrey is our resident Key note and should get an award for his mastery of speeches!