In most communities, youth are a vast, untapped resource in the effort to prevent the harm of underage drinking and other issues. Youth empowerment is also a “two-fer”. It promises impacts on two levels:
- The impact on the community that a group of youth might have as they participate in trying to reduce the harm of problems like underage drinking or tobacco use.
- The impact on the youth, themselves, as they attempt to impact their environment. Youth participating in these programs generally become highly informed, develop skills and become very committed to “practicing what they preach”.
Youth leadership has three core parts:
- Education/Information: Students are provided with the background information needed to develop an understanding of the problem. This knowledge suggests possible solutions to the problem and provides the inspiration to act.
- Skills: Before taking action, youth are provided with the skills needed to take action and cause change. These include such things as media or speaking skills. This provides the skills to act.
- Action: Youth are provided the opportunity to use the skills in the real world. They are given the chance to present to a classroom, conduct a demonstration or produce a video. This opportunity to take action and effect change is where the empowerment process is completed.
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