Be the Change Youth Summit

Be the Change Youth Summit
Posted on 03/18/2024
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On March 15, 2024, over 250 students and their chaperones from all over Southeast Washington State chose to attend the "Be the Change Youth Summit" at the Pasco Red Lion. The 2024 "Be the Change" theme was selected by the youth planning committee.

The 2024 annual summit was coordinated by the Southeast Washington Regional Prevention Group, which includes ESD 123, the Walla Walla County Department of Community Health, and the Benton-Franklin Health District.  Local counties represented included Asotin, Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Garfield, Walla Walla, Whitman, and Yakima.

Keynote speaker, Jake White, used his story, statistics, and fun with a drum to lay a foundation for positive social norming. 
Youth Summit Students and Jake White
He also introduced three smart strategies for how to say no to addictive substances when under peer pressure:

  • Number 1: To avoid an argument, say, "I am not doing _____ tonight." 
  • Number 2: If met with a question, deflect by adding, "Can you tell me where I can find an alternative, such as a soft drink or snack?" 
  • Number 3:  Lastly, if continually pressured, be honest about how the pressure affects your enjoyment of the social situation. 

He gave a personal example of how this strategy turned the person pressuring him into his biggest advocate.  Jake went on to show the students how he began throwing substance-free parties and demonstrated their popularity, leading to the founding of the company Vive18.  
Drug facts game, and Photo Booth
In a breakout session following the keynote speech, Jake taught students how they could hold substance-free parties and even attract sponsorships. 
Resiliency through art and leadership challenge
Other breakout sessions included ESD 123's Art Expression Trauma and Resilience program, which uses art to develop resiliency skills, and leadership skills inspired by the Challenge Tri-Cities Ropes course.  Students could also choose between sessions teaching the strategic prevention framework, connection, and strategies for coping with stress and anxiety.  At the resource fair students picked up swag and networked with the 13 vendors present.  

ESD 123's Student Support Department is incredibly grateful for all of the staff and partners who worked so hard to make the 2024 Youth Summit such a rewarding day.
ESD 123 Student Support Staff

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