Students from A-C Valley share their positive message plan to
promote community and mental health.
CLARION – Thirty-one students from six of Clarion County’s seven school districts gathered on October 7, 2022, to kick off the Clarion County Youth Council (CCYC) leadership program’s 14th year.
CCYC, a program of Clarion County Family Net, provides opportunities for students in grades 8-12 to develop leadership and social service skills. Through hands-on problem-solving and group projects, CCYC students work to make a positive difference in their schools and communities.
At the meeting, students heard from Joe Markiewicz, a motivational speaker, senior consultant, and national youth trainer for Building Stronger Communities. Mr. Markiewicz walked the students through the process of developing action plans via problem behavior identification and examining risk and protective factors, followed by giving the students a chance to practice their public speaking skills through group reporting.
Mr. Markiewicz also shared with the students the Developmental Assets Framework, 40 positive supports, and strengths that young people need to succeed. Students were then given time to read the list and share what they felt was missing among today’s youth. An aspect noted as being a high priority was “time at home”, which helps to promote family bonding. Another aspect identified was a “positive view on personal future”, which many students seem to lack and can contribute to feelings of hopelessness and depression.
Later during the meeting, students utilized data from the Pennsylvania Youth Survey to brainstorm action plans for projects within their schools or communities. Students from A-C Valley began plans for a positive messaging campaign to promote community and positive mental health. North Clarion students plan to celebrate World Kindness Day with activities. Redbank Valley students are planning for a door-decorating contest to promote a positive school environment. Union students plan to focus on vaping awareness and prevention. Keystone students are planning to create a music video to share during a pep rally. Finally, Clarion Area students are working on an Easter project in addition to a “thank you” note station. Several of the school districts had already prepared for and participated in Red Ribbon Week, held during the last week of October each year to promote drug-abuse prevention awareness.
The projects planned at these meetings by the students are just the tip of the iceberg for what’s to come as they make more plans for the year, covering a variety of topics such as substance abuse, mental health awareness, and providing for those in need.
The next CCYC meeting will be on November 30, where students will share their progress, continue planning, and learn more about leadership and substance abuse prevention.
This meeting was sponsored by the Armstrong-Indiana-clarion Drug and Alcohol Commission (AICDAC) and the Clarion Drug-Free Coalition, who provided the presenter; Clarion County Mental Health, who provided lunch; and the Knox United Methodist Church, who provided a location for the event. Additionally, representatives from AICDAC, Community Action Inc., Clarion County’s Promise Inc., Clarion County Emergency Management Agency, Nicotine Free Northwest PA and the Tobacco Resistance Unit, and the Center for Community Resources were in attendance and assist with both planning the meetings and helping out on the day of.
For more information about the CCYC program, contact Amanda Cserr, program coordinator, at 814-223-1590.