Youth voices

Students had a chance to share their thoughts on how their communities approach the problem of substance abuse at the third annual Power Up YOUth Hamilton County Youth Summit.

Hosted at Trinity Lutheran Church in Webster City on Friday, students met in small groups to discuss tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and other drugs in the morning. In the afternoon, they shared their thoughts with the public through a series of presentations.

Tiffany Larson, Power Up YOUth board member, said the goals of the summit included identifying positive and negative things going on in students’ communities and finding out ways to increase positive youth development locally. Students were asked to look at how their friends, families, communities and institutions affected their perspectives on substance use and abuse.

In their presentations, students were also asked to share their ideas on how their communities could improve their prevention and education toward substance abuse.

“These aren’t solutions, just suggestions,” Larson said.

Student suggestions ranged from increasing penalties for students found with substances and increasing the amount of time that schools educate students about those substances.