SADD students provide workshops

BURLINGTON - The 2010 Governor's Youth Leadership Conference, a conference planned and run by SADD

members from all over Vermont, hosted between 500-600 high school students in Burlington, Vermont. In addition to the keynote speaker, Kevin Brooks, a Canadian who became a paraplegic after being involved in an alcohol and excessive-speed related car crash, attendees could choose three breakout session workshops from about twenty. Four of those workshops were run by students from Stafford Technical Center's SADD Chapter. One of the workshops featured a Stafford SADD member and a friend of hers from Otter Valley.

Emily Johnson, a Stafford Technical Center from West Rutland, was the lead presenter in a workshop that addressed two topics, maintaining the minimum legal drinking age at 21, and "alcopops", a class of sweet alcoholic beverages which appeal strongly to "starter drinkers". Emily had chosen the 18 v. 21 issue as a project in the PowerPoint class she took at the College of St. Joseph as part of her being involved in the Public Safety Services Program' and she expanded it. The second part of the workshop, the Alcopops presentation, was a game where seminar attendees were asked questions about these fruity- flavored drinks, which are very attractive to young, and often under-aged drinkers, especially teen girls. The attendees found a number of facts involving these drinks, which often add caffeine and other stimulants often found in energy drinks. The game portion featured Carrie Turner, a junior at Otter Valley and Emily Fredette, a Stafford student from Castleton, as well as Emily Johnson. The sixty or so attendees at the two presentations that these students provided rated the presentation very highly in their evaluations.

Cierra Phelps, a Stafford student from Clarendon, presented two highly regarded workshops on Healthy Relationships and Teen Dating Violence to about sixty students.

Cierra has been involved in a co-op program at the Rutland County Women's Network and Shelter as a second year student in the Public Safety Services Program, is considered to be a youth expert in the field and has presented a number of workshops on the subject. Additionally, she won a Liz Claiborne Foundation national competitive grant which deal with Teen Dating Violence last year.

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