Thursday, June 26, 2014

How has YLC had an impact on my life?

By: Faith Murphy

The first day of school, when I signed up for the Youth Leadership Council, I never would have imagined it would have impacted by life as much as it did.  The friends and memories I have made will last me a lifetime. 

YLC is not just any club though, throughout my four years of YLC I have felt my confidence go up, I have learned how to be a strong leader and I have become a productive public speaker.  I have also learned how to use prevention strategies to breakdown a community to find what drug and alcohol problems they may be facing.  I have even been given two opportunities, through YLC and the SAFE Coalition, to attend CADCA in Washington, D.C.  While attending CADCA, I learned how to properly speak to our state officials and even got an opportunity to work with them on what we can do to help our sate and community. 

Van Buren County is lucky to have a club like YLC.  I feel like I have helped change our community for the better and I encourage any student in High School to join YLC and do the same.  

How YLC Impacted My Life

Lydia Speaking with
Representative Hanson
By: Lydia Heald

Five years ago I did not think I would have the opportunity to travel to Phoenix, Arizona, Nashville, Tennessee, Austin, Texas, or Washington D.C. multiple times during my high school career, but I did and it all happened because I chose to join the Youth Leadership Council. It has been one of the best decisions I've made thus far in my life. It has provided me with so many extraordinary opportunities like speaking to four hundred plus youth on the prevention of substance abuse, speaking with Congressional members on Capitol Hill, as well as speaking with my own friends, family, and community members. All of these occasions have made me into the person I am today. My speaking has improved tremendously. I can capture and handle a crowd of young people with no problem. I have made connections both high and low that I will never forget, and who knows they could be my boss one day or writing me letters of recommendation for medical school. What I believe to be the greatest gift of joining YLC though, are the friends that I have made and will have for a lifetime, and the courage to never give up on something that I am so passionate about. I encourage any young person to join YLC, not because it looks good on college or scholarship applications, but because of the positive impact it will make in your life, just as it did in mine.

Friday, June 20, 2014


By: Abby Rider

Being a part of Youth Leadership Council was one of the best choices I made throughout high school and it has impacted my life in so many ways. It allowed me to be the role model I always dreamed of being for my peers and younger classmates. With the guidance of Heidi Bainbridge and Melissa Daugherty, I was able to learn about the risks of using drugs and alcohol and am proud to say that in my five years of YLC, I have remained drug and alcohol free.  I am forever in their debt of “thank you” for all the opportunities they have given me: CADCA in Phoenix and Washington DC, trainings throughout Iowa, meeting state senators in Des Moines, etc. I am sad that my time with YLC has come to an end, but I plan on taking what I learned to college and continue to be a role model for the people around me. I’ll always cherish my memories and lessons learned with YLC and I hope the generations after me will join so they can have the unforgettable experience as well. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

YLC Members Attend ISTEP Summit

The I-STEP (Iowa Students for Education and Prevention) Executive Council held their annual summer summit event the week of June 9-13; this year was much different from the past couple of years. This year the I-Step Executive Council held four different summits throughout the state of Iowa. The first summit Tuesday June 10th was held in Harlan IA, the second summit Wednesday the 11th was held in Pella IA at Central College, the 3rd summit was held in Waverly at Wartburg College on Thursday the 12th and finally I-STEP traveled to Storm Lake for the final summit at Buena Vista University Friday the 13th. Each location had approximately 25 kids. These four summits were a free, all day event that featured keynote speakers Stacia Brezinski and Chad Bullock from the Forget Tobacco Campaign, also breakout sessions that taught the summiteers about addiction, information about how to form a chapter, information about new tobacco products and then about the CADCA organization, to name a few. The I-STEP council is made of 11 students from several areas of Iowa; three of the eleven members are from Van Buren County’s Youth Leadership Council (YLC), Cassie Johnson and Drew Nolting 2014 graduates of Van Buren High School, and an upcoming Junior Ciery Welcher. Isabelle Neeley and Jacinta Wenke from Van Buren attended the Pella summit on Wednesday and learned a lot of great information that they will be able to bring back to Van Buren County to share with other YLC members locally. Anyone grades 8th-12th can apply for the 2014-2015 Executive Council, visit
Cassie Johnson, Jacinta Wenke, Cierstynn Welcher, Isabel Neeley and Drew Nolting at the conference!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dads, could your kids be at risk for substance abuse?

Families strive to find the best ways to raise their children to live happy, healthy and productive lives.  Parents are often concerned about whether their children will start or are already using drugs such as tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and others, including the abuse of prescription drugs.  Research supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has shown the important role that parents play in preventing their children from starting to use drugs.

These five questions, developed by the Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon, highlight skills that are important in preventing the initiation and progression of drug use among youth.  For each question, there is a video clip on line at that shows positive and negative examples of the skill and additional videos and information are provided to help you practice.  


  1. Are you able to communicate calmly and clearly with your teenager regarding relationship problems?
  2. Do you encourage positive behaviors in your teenager on a daily basis?
  3. Are you able to negotiate emotional conflicts with your teenager and work toward a solution?
  4. Are you able to calmly set limits when your teenager is defiant or disrespectful? Are you able to set limits on more serious problem behavior such as drug use, if or when it occurs?
  5. Do you monitor your teenager to assure that they do not spend too much unsupervised time with peers?
For more information on talking to your teens about substance abuse please contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or by email at  For other resources please checkout the coalition’s website at or on Facebook – Van Buren County SAFE Coalition or on the coalition’s blog at

Article and data provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse Website. 

References1.  Dishion, T.J.; Nelson, N.E.; Kavanagh, K. The Family Check-Up with high-risk young adolescents: Preventing early-onset substance use by parent monitoring. Behavior Therapy 34: 553-571, 2003.

2.  Dishion,T.J.; Kavanagh, K.;  Schneiger, A.;  Nelson, S.; Kaufman, N.K. Preventing early adolescent substance use: A family-centered strategy for the public middle school. Prevention Science 3 (3): 191-201, 2002.