This is our third and last blog installment recapping Georgia Teen Institute 2014. Our first two posts covered overall group session highlights and Team Meetings and Family Groups, two elements of GTI that are often favorites! We hope you enjoy this post just as much, as we describe the inspiring workshop opportunities participants were provided and how they enriched the GTI experience!
Year after year, we are fortunate to have workshop presenters at Georgia Teen Institute who are truly invested in the lives of others. This year proved no different. Presenters came from all over the state in order to Make It Matter to participants. Presenters inspired, motivated and encouraged workshop goers to make a difference, not only in their communities, but in the world at large.
All participants, both youth and adults, were able to choose from a variety of workshops offered several times throughout the week. Workshops covered an array of topics such as effective peer-focused strategies, including alcohol, tobacco and other drug prevention as well as the prevention of teen dating violence; becoming culturally competent leaders; taking advantage of youth voice in order to improve existing programming; learning ways to become successful both now and in the future; understanding communication styles; and the art of writing an effective PSA.
Substance abuse prevention workshops were led by phenomenal presenters such as Wes Bender from the YMCA, John Lee McNair and Felicia Nepp from the Catoosa Prevention Initiative, Dana Bryan and our very own GUIDE, Inc. staff Mahuli Jakubek and Molly Vance. Wes showed participants that it’s important to take a deeper look into emotional intelligence in order to set higher expectations for self and the generations to follow. These higher expectations, in turn, help youth understand their worth and the importance of remaining healthy by living an alcohol, tobacco and other drug free lifestyle. Art is also a wonderful way to express the importance of prevention. John Lee and Felicia led participants in a creative project, which illuminated powerful prevention messages. Adult participants had the privilege of learning from John Lee, who discussed ways to build parental awareness of prescription drug abuse and misuse. Mahuli and Molly led a fun, interactive workshop that illustrated how social norms and norming play an important role in crushing the myths about underage drinking prevention. “Lauren’s Story,” a workshop demonstrating the negative effects of substance abuse, was led by Dana who engaged youth as they listened to her personal story of loss. A teen dating violence workshop, which included another type of prevention for participants to choose from, was led by Christina Williams and Shoneika Jefferson from SafeHomes of Augusta.
Participants also learned skills to become culturally competent, successful and purpose-driven leaders in their communities. Exploration of experiences, background and prejudices led the conversation in Michael Davis’ workshop about culturally competency. VOX Teen Communications, a program dedicated to youth voice in programming, illustrated the importance of listening to the voices of the youth we serve. Ron Gardner led youth through an engaging workshop that helped them identify the importance of academics, behavior and character in order to achieve success. Participants were encouraged to seek out their purpose in G. Jackson’s workshop, while also exploring key elements of leadership in Anthony Stover’s workshop on empowerment. Crystal Culver motivated youth in her workshops to seek their full potential in order to Make It Matter, not only at GTI, but back at home, too.
Adult Advisors had the option to attend specialized sessions including Crystal Williams’ workshop, which showcased various youth communication practices and behaviors. This knowledge helped adults to identify ways to engage the youth they serve in a more meaningful way. Atlanta radio host, Melissa Carter, offered another workshop dedicated to the skill of PSA writing. Participants learned how to craft messages in order to raise awareness in their communities. Adult participants had the privilege of learning from John Bringuel with The Council on Alcohol and Drugs, who discussed ways to build parental awareness of prescription drug abuse and misuse.
We are incredibly thankful to all of our presenters for truly Making It Matter at GTI 2014! It’s in large part because of these wonderful people that Georgia Teen Institute is able to provide participants from all over the state of Georgia the skills and resources needed to make a difference in their communities.
Do you want to know even more about Georgia Teen Institute and how you can get involved? Please visit our website and reach out to us today for any questions or suggstions!