Teens travel to D.C. to attend forum
Published 5:18 am Saturday, February 11, 2017
On Saturday, Feb. 4, four parish school youth and three mentors left Pine en route to the Louis Armstrong Airport in New Orleans, to attend the Community Anti-Drug Coalition of American Leadership Forum (CADCA) in Washington, D.C.
Attending the forum were Tracy Gill, coalition coordinator; Alyssa Vargas, youth representative from Pine High School; Gillan Gable, Pine High School; Amy Richards, coalition assistant; Abbi Fornea, Pine High School; Tiffany Crain, Drug Free Communities program director; and Kevin Boudreaux, Varnado High School.
The weekend was spent checking in, presentation preparation, and a reception. They also attended the primary tourist sites, including the Smithsonian Museums, Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, Arlington, Holocaust Museums, the Rev. Martin Luther King statue, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the American Indian Museum.
The group agreed that the most solemn area was the Holocaust Museum, where Abbi Fornea, Gilliam Gables and Kevin Boudreaux lit candles in memory of those victims of World War II.
Monday through Thursday was spent visiting in representatives’ offices, presenting them with mementos, plenary sessions and training sessions.
Charlette Fornea, executive director of ADAPT, said the group will educate politicians and other participants about Louisiana’s Caring Community Youth Survey, done in 2014. According to the survey:
- 18.5 percent of our eighth graders report consuming alcohol in the past 30 days.
- 48.1 percent of our 12th graders report consuming alcohol in the past 30 days.
- 27.1 percent of our 12th graders report binge drinking.
- 12.2 percent of our 10th graders smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days.
- 21.4 percent of our 12th graders smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days.
- 17.4 percent of our 12th graders report using marijuana in the past 30 days.
- 5 percent of our 10th graders report using narcotics in the past 30 days.
Fornea said that the use of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and the abuse of prescription drugs can cause irreversible damage to the young and to growing brains and bodies.
Fornea said ADAPT and other community organizations are dedicated to reducing substance use among youth and promoting abstinence through prevention education and environmental change.