Drug Free Collier and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are beaming with pride after witnessing dozens of local teens rally around the prevention of underage drinking.

Students from eight different middle and high schools throughout Collier County recently came together for Youth Jam ‘16, an inaugural Youth Leadership Conference that featured innovative ways to help teens navigate the crucial teen years by making positive, healthy choices.

The one-day event included stand-out presentations with leading individuals such as Jeff Becker, Andrew Miranti, Dr. Stephen Stohler and Tasheekia Perry. The engaging sessions allowed students to reflect on the importance of having purpose in their lives and showed young participants how to build relational bridges that promote healthy self-esteem, productivity and accountability.

As keynote presenter, Becker, a Southwest Florida school counselor and motivational speaker was able to connect with the teens through his sense of humor and positive energy. He shared his personal journey and struggles as a youth and showed teens that it’s important not to allow others to put labels on you.

Miranti and Stohler, both with Healthways’ Blue Zones Project, also led students through a creative exercise to help them find purpose. Finding one’s purpose can be the antidote to the emptiness that so many experience today, they explained.



The training concluded with Perry helping students realize that they each have the power to take a stand. Students were reminded that by being leaders, they are part of the solution to preventing underage drinking in our community.

Throughout the conference, students also enjoyed a variety of activities. “We received great feedback from everyone,” said Melanie Black, Executive Director of Drug Free Collier. “Thanks to interactive games, a live DJ, photo booth, food and great giveaways, skill building was never more fun for this group of teens.”

“Collaborating with Drug Free Collier on the first annual Youth Jam Leadership Conference is proof that working together can provide a richer experience and more in-depth prevention message to youth and the community,” said Lori Burke, MADD Southwest Florida Program Director.

“By providing our teens with positive opportunities like these, we are helping to set them up for success,” Black added. “We are proud to have partnered with so many dedicated individuals on this new campaign. We understand that today’s teens face all sorts of challenges and we want them to know that they are not alone.”

Drug Free Collier remains committed to protecting children from substance abuse through ongoing community collaborations like Youth Jam and other campaigns that engage our youth. The event was spearheaded by Drug Free Collier’s coordinator of our school-based prevention clubs known as the CORE Society. Participation was open to CORE students and other interested students.

Local businesses such as B-103, The Dock at Crayton Cove, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Sweet Tomatoes, Olive Garden, Goldies Restaurant, Publix, Sam’s Club, Coastal Beverage and Trader Joe’s were among the partners who made this event possible.

As part of this event, students also received valuable resources to remind them about the life-saving lessons they learned at this
conference. Important information on teen drinking is outlined in MADD’s Power of YOU(th) program that was distributed to each participant.

For copies of this booklet and other resources to help prevent underage drinking, contact Lori.Burke@MADD.org at Mothers
Against Drunk Driving or Drug Free Collier at info@drugfreecollier.org.

Established in 2005, Drug Free Collier is a local 501(c)(3) non-profit working to save and change young lives. Visit www.DrugFreeCollier.org to find out how you can help or call 239.377.0535.

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