SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Aug. 15, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The 2nd annual Youth for Justice Summer Academy, funded by Alcohol Justice, the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition, and the Marin County Probation Department, ended with a celebration and awards presentation Friday evening. Youth, adults, and community organization members gathered at the offices of Alcohol Justice in the Canal neighborhood of San Rafael to joyfully share experiences and acknowledge new skills learned over the past two months.
"Our Youth for Justice Summer Academy is a powerful tool to challenge alcohol and drug use among young people here in our own backyard," said Jorge Castillo, Program Manager of the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition. "It's a natural extension of our community coalition's work to help place more youth from the Canal district of San Rafael on the path toward success and enable them to live healthier and safer lives."
This summer the program provided pro-social activities and growth and learning opportunities to 26 young people. In addition to sessions on the harms of alcohol and marijuana held at Alcohol Justice, participants went on a number of interesting field trips and bike outings conducted by Trips for Kids. One excursion was to Pie Ranch Youth Food Justice Summit in Pescadero, California, where the kids were invited to present a workshop on alcopops and alcohol marketing to other youth. Youth for Justice Summer Academy participants also received training on public speaking and community activism.
"I liked coming to the Youth for Justice Academy in the summer because we got to meet new people and go to interesting places like farms, or go on bike rides," stated youth participant and Canal resident Ilse. "And it also felt good to work together to better our community in the Canal."
Major funding for the academy came from the County of Marin Juvenile Probation Division whose Director, Kevin Lynch, said, "We're interested in investing in prevention efforts that lead to safe and healthy communities for the youth of Marin. We recognize that youth who are engaged in these activities are far less likely to become involved with the juvenile justice system."
The San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition is in the first year of a five-year federal grant, receiving $125,000 per year (renewable for 5 years) to involve and engage their community in the prevention of substance abuse among youth. It specifically works to establish and strengthen community collaboration in support of local efforts to prevent youth substance use in the Canal district, a California neighborhood of 12,000 residents.
"We are helping a new generation of young people from the Canal become the future leaders of Marin, said Maite Durán, Community Organizer at Alcohol Justice and Youth for Justice Leader. "We want to give these young people the whole picture, not just that 'alcohol is bad'. We want them to take away that truly successful leaders are people who take care of themselves, are healthy and strong, physically, mentally and spiritually, and that alcohol or other drugs do not play a role in the lives of young leaders."
For more information about Youth for Justice or the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition, contact Jorge Castillo at 415 257-2488.
Michael Scippa 415 548-0492
Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336
SOURCE Alcohol Justice