SWAT (Students Working against Alcohol, Tobacco, & other drugs) is an initiative focused on engaging students around preventing substance use. Through the Idea Fund funding, SWAT will create a Photo Voice project featuring young, diverse community members showcasing their surroundings and how those surroundings impact their ability to be healthy, with an emphasis on the role of drug use in the community.
The goal is to create photo stories (that can also be used in presentations and advertisements) that encourage teens to make heathy decisions, stay away from drugs and get help if needed. The project strives to support having more positive activities available that can prevent kids from using and abusing drugs, as well as support kids in getting help with depression or mental health issues. This will help reduce the barriers teens face to participate in healthy activities, while teaching skills to avoid peer pressure and be role models.
The SWAT students will be able to participate in community change or drug prevention projects where they can explore principles, practices, and strategies that foster higher levels of youth participation with other community sectors. This will result in directly engaging youth in local community prevention efforts, which will include planning a leadership retreat designed for all ages to learn about leadership, assumption busting, and bringing together family through shared experiences. Collectively, these experiences will help improve lives in the Willmar community.
The Photo Voice art gallery will open on June 1, [SK1] with artwork on display from June 2-7, as well as at the Kandiyohi county fair from August 8-12.