The Prevention Center is packed.
Teen leaders from around Spokane and North Idaho trickle into the tiny storefront office for the monthly meeting of the Prevention Youth Council.
Meanwhile, Linda Thompson, executive director of The Prevention Center, tries to organize handouts, photocopy the agenda, answer phone calls, start a video and avoid bumping into people.
The Prevention Youth Council is made up of teens who help organize drug-free rallies and dances, present educational puppet shows and skits, and work on Operation Storefront - a cooperative community project that surveys the number and location of tobacco advertisements in the area.
The teens also attend statewide drug prevention conferences and camps.
Reardon High School junior Lisa Hull is the vice president of the Prevention Youth Council and leads this monthly meeting in the president’s absence.
Hull also started a chapter of Washington Drug Free Youth at her school.
“I see how alcohol and drugs affect some of my friends,” she says. “If they could see how they act, they’d know it’s not very cool.”
Nicole Westhaver, a junior at Ferris High School, is involved with Students Against Drunk Driving there. She says that she works with the Prevention Youth Council because she wants children and teens to know that they can have fun without using drugs or alcohol.
“I made the choice a long time ago that I would have fun without drugs,” she says.
Thompson chatters excitedly with the teens about Fatal Vision, a training kit that includes a pair of plastic safety goggles designed to visually simulate intoxication. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission recently donated Fatal Vision to The Prevention Center.
“We can use those at our Teen Driving Nights,” she says to the Prevention Youth Council members.
Thompson is referring to two upcoming evening events that the Prevention Youth Council helps organize.
Teen Driving Night includes talks by victims of drunken driving, videos and traffic safety information all geared toward young drivers.
The upcoming Teen Driving Night programs will be on Tuesday, March 11, at 7 p.m. at West Valley High School and on Tuesday, April 22, at 7 p.m. at the Deaconess Health Education Center.
To reserve a spot for one of the Teen Driving Night programs, or to get involved with the Prevention Youth Council, call 922-8383.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo
MEMO: Created in support of the Spokane County Health Improvement Partnership (HIP), Discoveries highlights people working to improve community health and well-being. If you have a discovery that deserves recognition, 459-5419.
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