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Published on March 31st, 2014 | by Burlington Partnership

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Burlington Middle School Students Living Above the Influence

On January 24th and 25th, 9 students from Edmunds Middle School represented Burlington at a two day “Above the Influence” retreat designed and implemented with BPHC funding and staff support. They were accompanied by students from 7 other middle schools in Chittenden County. The retreat was designed to give kids the tools and support to live above the negative influences of drugs and alcohol and support healthy choices in their communities.

We collaborated with four other prevention coalitions from Chittenden County to pool funding, time, and resources so kids in our area could connect with and get support from others their age choosing healthy lifestyles. 6 local high school students helped by leading team building and energizing activities.

We used messaging, images, and activities created by the National Above the Influence campaign, a well-respected and recognized media campaign that encourages youth to stay true to who they are and live life substance free. More information about the ATI campaign can be found on our Chittenden County ATI Facebook page.

At the retreat the students learned about leadership and promoting healthy lifestyles local high school prevention groups. They heard from media consultant Dr. Rob Williams about the influence of tobacco and alcohol advertising on youth. They practiced public speaking and techniques for stress management. Kids spent time planning projects for improving health and wellness in their school and local community.

Our Director Mariah Sanderson, summed up the event to the media with these powerful words; “Youth are one of our most valuable resources to preventing substance abuse. Providing opportunities and support for youth leadership in community issues is proven to reduce negative outcomes for youth related to substance use, truancy, criminal behavior, and more. When we empower our youth to lead, we all benefit.”


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