Developing drug-free leaders in Stark County

Stark County Youth Led Prevention

Youth Led Prevention_Color 2016Stark County Youth Led Prevention is a youth-led, adult-guided leadership development group focusing on promoting and celebrating healthy lifestyles for youth. Stark County Youth Led Prevention was begun by Drug Free Stark County and Stark County Mental Health & Addiction Recovery to empower students to impact their schools, neighborhoods and communities.

Stark County Youth Led Prevention members are part of the 87% of Stark County students who do not use alcohol. Since the majority of students do not use alcohol and other drugs, Stark County Youth Led Prevention members want to encourage fellow students to continue to make positive choices regarding substance use! Students are impacted by countless issues while growing up – including depression, anxiety, bullying, suicidal thoughts, substance use and many more. Stark County Youth Led Prevention is a safe place for students to come together and encourage their peers to make healthy decisions through planning and implementing various prevention and leadership development activities.

2015 Activities

Stark County Youth Led Prevention had the opportunity to plan and participate in a variety of activities this year!

  • Members of Stark County Youth Led Prevention participated in a State Legislative Day where they spoke to numerous State Representatives and State Senators to boost their support of youth-led prevention efforts in Ohio and formally invite them to the We are the Majority Rally.
  • The We are the Majority Rally featured 12 Stark County youth joining over 1,300 students from across Ohio who gathered at Huntington Park in Columbus and marched to the Ohio Statehouse where they formed a resiliency ring to show Ohio leaders and lawmakers the majority of youth do not use alcohol, tobacco or other drugs and that the youth of Ohio are the future!
  • One of the biggest projects Stark County Youth Led Prevention completed in 2015 was developing the Effects of Drugs Video » for Stark County Family Court, with support from adults from Drug Free Stark County and the Parents Who Host subcommittee.
  • The adult leaders for Stark County Youth Led Prevention participated in a three-day adult academy through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Drug Free Action Alliance Network and Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network. Through this training, adult leaders learned how to utilize the Holden Model for strategic planning with lead researchers from Ohio University. The culmination of this academy, was participating technical assistance project in which adult leaders created posters outlining Stark County Youth Led Prevention through the Holden Model. This poster was chosen to be presented at the Ohio Promoting Wellness and Recovery (OPEC) Conference.

#SafeHomecomingStark and #SafePromStark are social media campaigns in which Stark County youth post photos of themselves and friends to Instagram while participating in safe activities. Dances can be one of the most exciting memories in a young person’s life, and we want to encourage students to be safe! Examples of safe activities include wearing a seat belt or drinking water instead of alcohol. The more creative, the better! Once youth hashtag their photos with #SafeHomecomingStark or #SafePromStark, they will be entered to win a $100 gift card! Winners are chosen by Stark County Youth Led Prevention members.


For more information on Stark County Youth Led Prevention, please contact Allison Esber, Systems Initiatives Manager, at 330-430-3972 or Allison.Esber@StarkMHAR.org.