Teens look to improve their communities with leadership training
June 21, 2018 06:46 AM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - While many teens were enjoying staying up late and sleeping in on their summer break this week, one group of about 35 New Mexico teenagers spent the past three days learning how they can help make New Mexico a better place to live.
The teens came to UNM from all over the state, including 4 New Mexico tribes, for a free Youth Leadership Training. It was part of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) community outreach project.
“The training we're giving them is we're actually giving it to the youth, putting it in their hands so they can actually take it back to their communities and fight any problem that they have,” said Jacob Prieto with the DEA.
The main issues students identified across New Mexico were alcohol abuse, recreational marijuana use, and underage drinking.
“In Tesuque Pueblo, our youth coalition, we're trying to gather up as much information that we can to help our community,” said James Hena, an 18-year-old who attended the training.
The DEA brought in trainers with the national nonprofit, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA).
“We lead them through this process and they create these products that help them solve their problems and map out their problems, ultimately leading them to find solutions to those problems,” said Robin Martinez, a CADCA Youth Leadership Trainer, and sophomore at Arizona State University.
Martinez says he’s helped lead several of these trainings all over the country, and he noticed the New Mexico students are highly motivated to improve their state.
“We could sense it from the very first day, that they truly cared enough about their community to wake up at 7 a.m. on a summer morning to come and try to do something to help solve their community's problems,” said Martinez.
The students said the CADCA trainers were very helpful and gave them tools to not only be future leaders but to start leading now.
“They show us that we're not leaders of tomorrow, we're leaders of also today,” said Sabrina Banda, a 15-year-old from Albuquerque
Created: June 21, 2018 06:46 AM
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