Six RAPA students had the opportunity to attend the 2023 CADCA National Leadership Forum in Washington D.C. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) is an international organization that supports 5,000 community coalitions including Turning Point Coalition. They support these groups by providing trainings, resources, and materials to assist coalitions in their prevention efforts. The National Leadership Forum provides the opportunity to hear from leaders in the prevention field, attend trainings with prevention professionals, and even opportunities to speak with members of Congress about issues in the community.
RAPA students were able to attend classes about many different topics in the prevention field, and were able to interact with youth from around the country during those sessions. Session topics included the dangers of drugs like marijuana and fentanyl, how social media is having an impact on youth, leadership training, communication and outreach, and how to be culturally inclusive in prevention efforts. One of RAPA's members was able to speak with U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown's aide about the work RAPA is doing in Orrville. This was an incredible opportunity for everyone because we were able to talk about prevention work in Ohio, share RAPA's successes, and thank a member of Congress for the funding that makes all of the work RAPA Teen Institute and Turning Point Coalition does possible. RAPA students wrote letters to Turning Point Coalition about the experiences this trip provided, and here is what they said:
Amy- "When it came to the sessions, it was interesting because sometimes I would lose interest when it came to the adults talking, but whenever it came to younger people talking to us, it felt more relatable and more entertaining."
Sara- "This experience has further strengthened my desire to help others and pursue a social work degree as I go on to college next year."
Valeria- "On our last day we had a session where they talked about #clearingtheair. This session was about miscommunications in our communities about marijuana. This session was one of my favorite sessions by far because of the interaction by the youth leader. Her name is Trinity Murrary, and she did an amazing job in letting others speak about their experiences with drug abuse in their schools."
Lillian- "The difference between how youth and adults perceive issues, along with how different people from different states and schools do so, was truly eye-opening and has changed my outlook in many different areas of my own life."
Ben- "The sessions taught me to open my eyes to things that I wouldn't have noticed or paid attention to before the trip. It was nice to see other people and talk to them. It feels nice to know that there's someone else out there that understands what we're doing and trying to accomplish in our schools."
James- "The thing I cared about most was the topic on fentanyl. It is a danger people need to be aware of so they can ensure the protection of their schools and communities."