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Enrollment opens for year-long high school peer leadership experience

virginia abcEnrollment is open for the Virginia ABC Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project, a peer leadership opportunity fostering healthy communities and the prevention of substance use.

The annual program begins with a kick-off conference which will be held virtually July 19 – 21 using an online platform. Participation requires the registration of a Team of four high school student participants and one Adult Sponsor.

During the conference, students attend topical workshops facilitated by peer leaders, hear from well-known motivational speakers, learn peer leadership and prevention best practices and develop a Strategies To Act Now (STAN) Plan to address substance use among their peers. Teams compete for $250 mini-grants to use as seed money for their STAN Plan and the $500 Wheeler Award to sustain their continued prevention efforts.

A discounted enrollment rate of $100 per Team ($20 per person) is offered through April 30. The price then increases to $125 per Team until the June 1 enrollment deadline. The fee includes conference materials, as well as year-long coaching and support for Adult Sponsors as they aid their Team in implementing its STAN Plan throughout the school year.

During the kick-off conference, Adult Sponsors participate in their own track, receiving resources and training on topics that will help them support their Team. Adult Sponsors are eligible for continuing education units and professional development hours. Law enforcement officers are eligible for partial in-service credits through the Department of Criminal Justice Services.

In addition to working on their prevention plans, students can expand their experience as peer leaders by applying for YADAPP Youth Staff positions and progressing through four levels of leadership with increasing responsibilities. These levels start with the Youth Leader role, acting as a guide for conference participants, and build to the top level of serving as conference Interns. YADAPP Interns are college students who spend 10 months planning aspects of the program including curriculum development and Youth Staff training.

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Virginia’s youth has been dramatic, upending their lives with changes to routines, expectations and relationships. Given this unprecedented situation, substance use prevention remains critical, if not paramount, now,” explained Virginia ABC Education and Prevention Manager Katie Crumble. “Peer-led substance use prevention is a proven effective path for young leaders to take a stand to create positive change and promote healthy behaviors among youth in the commonwealth.”

Since its inception in 1984, approximately 450 different high schools and community organizations and more than 12,000 students have participated in YADAPP.

For more information and to enroll, visit the YADAPP website,

augusta free press news
augusta free press news


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