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Informative youth conference addressed drugs and violence

Recently more than 100 Gary Community School Corporation scholars participated in the Youth Drug-Free Conference. The event, hosted by the Gary Drug Free Council at the Gary Area Career Center, allowed dozens of community partners to come together to promote public health awareness of substance abuse and violence.

Conference sessions focused on equipping students with public health information and resources while discussing the challenges and behavioral issues, and linking youth to the network of community organizations available to help students work through these issues.

Opening remarks were delivered by Dr. Paige McNulty, Manager of the Gary Schools, Dr. Ronald Walker, Gary Health Commissioner and Bernard Carter, Lake County Prosecutor.

Students joined individual groups for in-depth conversations around underage drinking, tobacco, marijuana, vaping, violence and coping mechanisms.

“We are just scratching the surface on the topics that need to be addressed in the schools,” said Denise Dillard of WDS, Inc., a sponsor and partner in the event.

“We are planning the expansion of these workshops to include younger students because we all know, by the time they are in high school, they have already been exposed to many of these vices.”

The partners and sponsors have committed to participate in future events. Organizers are looking forward to expanding program offerings in the 2022-2023 school year which will impact more scholars in the Gary community.

“The more youth we can reach, the greater the impact,” added Dillard.

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