RADFORD – Meigs Helms, a student at Radford High School, has been chosen with about 60 other teens from around Virginia to serve as youth staff for the Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP), a year-long program coordinated by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority (ABC).
The program begins “with a week-long conference to develop plans to combat underage substance use across the commonwealth,” according to Valerie Hubbard with the ABC. The conference is set to take place July 15-19 at Longwood University in Farmville.
Helms “credits the two years she has spent participating in the Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP) with a greater ability to lead and help others,” said Hubbard.
“YADAPP has helped me to confidently live a fulfilling life, free of unhealthy substances,” said Helms. “Through YADAPP I have attained leadership skills which help me to make a positive impact on my community.”
The summer YADAPP conference has been meeting for more than three decades, with “enthusiastic teams of Virginia high school students [convening] for a week in the summer to brainstorm ways to inspire their peers to keep their schools and communities alcohol-free and kickoff a yearlong partnership for substance use prevention,” according to Virginia ABC.
“Peer leaders are integral to the success of YADAPP,” said Virginia ABC Education and Prevention Manager Katie Crumble. “We are very proud of the outstanding students who donate their considerable time and energy each year to promote a healthier community.”
Helms has been chosen as a peer leader for the conference, responsible for guiding and coaching student participants through the YADAPP program, which includes student participants developing Strategies to Act Now (STAN) plans. The plans are created to prevent high school substance use within their own school and/or community.
“YADAPP has given rise to many innovative and collaborative programs over the years to promote safer and healthier lifestyles,” cites VA ABC. “Some of those have included school policy reform, after-school prevention education initiatives offering alternate activities and campaigns to encourage healthy behaviors.”
According to the University of Michigan’s 2018 Monitoring the Future Survey of eighth, tenth and twelfth grade students, 18.7 percent reported using alcohol in the past 30 days.