Youth Matter Summer Session June 16 at AJ High School

Free event designed for middle and high school students

By Gustavo McGrew

Last year at this time members of the Apache Junction Wellness Partnership came together to address the potential fallout from the controversial teenage suicide drama series, “13 Reason’s Why,” which aired on Netflix.

The Youth Empowerment Partners will be hosting their next event on Saturday, June 16, at Apache Junction High School, 2525 S. Ironwood Drive. The event is scheduled from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and is for high school and middle school age students and an additional track for parents/guardians and adults.

After receiving a significant donation last year from Russell True, owner of the White Stallion Ranch, the AJWP was able to host an overnight Youth Leadership Retreat for 40 youth and adults from around Pinal County.

The youth and adults from a variety of substance abuse coalitions, schools and community service providers explored their thoughts and feelings regarding teen suicide and the issues that play a role in young people contemplating and acting on taking their own lives. Participants were also provided with skill building and action planning workshops.

As of that initial retreat last August, the Youth Empowerment Partners have continued to meet and plan with youth and adult allies from several communities and have accomplished various activities to promote Positive Youth Development.

This past April the Youth Matters Forum was held at the Central Arizona College Campus in Apache Junction with over 100 people in attendance. Overall, we received very positive feedback and an interest from those who attended to see more Youth Empowerment Partners’ events.

The event will feature remarks by AJUSD Superintendent, Dr. Krista Anderson and Casa Grande Elementary School District Superintendent, Dr. JoEtta Gonzales. Motivational speakers Celina Mahinalani Garza and Slam Poet Jordan Chaney from Washington State will be speaking on making this upcoming school year the best ever.

The Youth Matter Summer Session is also designed to break into specific youth and adult tracks before we get back to together for a dynamic closing presentation by the United Dance Company recent winners of the Prelude Urban Dance competition in Las Vegas.

This is a free event and we encourage participation from middle and high school students as well as parents and interested adults. If you have any questions, please contact sharonstinard@gmail.com or gustavo.mcgrew@hhwaz.org .

Photo above: Youth and adults from around Pinal County participated in the 2017 Youth Leadership Retreat.

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