Local students and members of SAFE attend Youth Advocacy Training – WEAU

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) – Since 2011, the Eau Claire City-County Health Department and Eau Claire Health Alliance has held Youth Advocacy Training every year for highschoolers involved in SAFE. SAFE stands for Students Advocating for Excellence.

This year is the first year middle schoolers in the area could be apart of the club and their first time being invited to the training.

“They’re learning about different topics like alcohol, tobacco, prescription drug, marijuana, mental health, healthy relationships. And they’ve been coming up with their own ideas”, says Kate Torkelson.

Kate Torkelson is the Community Health Educator and she says these topics are important for our area and need to be talked about with local students.

“They talked a lot about how they get peer pressured into drinking by their friends and they get it from their parents or their siblings or cousins. With mental health, a lot of students I think in the YRBS, the stat for high school students like 51% experience anxiety. So that’s like a crazy amount of people in Eau Claire County that experience anxiety”, says Torkelson.

Students learned a lot about advocacy by participating in interactive activities.

“Mental health is a big thing, but honestly, communication and family dynamics, because a lot of things, a lot of mental health issues arise because people do not feel cared about and supported. They don’t feel like they have a safe place to go. We’ve been just learning a lot about what activism is and how to do that in our schools and how to kind of come together on a bunch of different issues and do that in a way that we have knowledge about those issues to present to other people”, says Fall Creek Senior and SAFE member, Olivia Marion.

The training is meant to be put into action by the students while they are at school.

“This gives them tools like this whole training, gives them tools that they can bring back to their school and make a difference in. So if it’s about a topic they are concerned about, we have items and ideas that they can take back and make a change in their school. That’s the main thing that we want. We want them to have a voice and make a change”, says Torkelson.

SAFE was previously known as SADD or Students Against Destructive Decisions, until students wanted to add mental health as a problem they could tackle. Then last year they changed it to SAFE and included middle schoolers into the club.

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Marc Valldeperez

Soy el administrador de y también un redactor deportivo. Apasionado por el deporte y su historia. Fanático de todas las disciplinas, especialmente el fútbol, el boxeo y las MMA. Encargado de escribir previas de muchos deportes, como boxeo, fútbol, NBA, deportes de motor y otros.

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