On December 8, Teens for Tomorrow facilitated the annual Use Your Voice student-led training event at Excelsior High School to empower and educate the next generation of leaders and change-makers. Use Your Voice youth trainings prepare student leaders to participate in Prevention Policy Day in Olympia on January 15, 2024.

Local students ages 12-18 attended peer-to-peer sessions about local policy change, public speaking, mental health, and substance prevention facilitated by Teens for Tomorrow, a local prevention group. The Washougal Unite! Coalition and various volunteers supported the trainings and discussions.

The event also included Q&A sessions with Washington State Representative Kevin Waters, R-Stevenson, and youth-led workshops.

“We are incredibly thankful for the active participation of Representative Kevin Waters and the strong support from our community,” said Paula Linden, Event Organizer and Prevention Coordinator for Prevent. “It’s heartening to see so many come together to empower our youth in such a meaningful way.” City council members contributed by assisting students in speech writing, while Southwest Washington Coalitions and Student Assistant Professionals provided essential support.

Five students gathered around Rep. Waters

Representative Kevin Waters listens to a group of students discuss their priorities.

Event partners and a supportive community helped to ensure a successful and enriching experience for the youth participants.

Use Your Voice is hosted annually in December by Prevent Coalition. Unite! Washougal provides the training facilities, supplies, and planning support for Use Your Voice. Funding is provided by the Washington State Department of Health, Dedicated Marijuana Account.

For more information about Prevent Coalition and to learn about ways to get involved, Christopher.Belisle@esd112.org.