Recently 23 middle school students and their adult advisors, from five Windham County schools, attended a two-day leadership training at High Five Adventure in Brattleboro.  Participating schools and community coalitions included:  The Floodbrook Elementary School/The Collaborative; Twin Valley Middle School/Deerfield Valley Community Partnership; Brattleboro Area Middle School/Brattleboro Area Prevention Coalition; Bellows Falls Middle School/Greater Falls Connections; and Leland & Gray/ West River Valley Thrives.

The goal of this training was for selected middle school students to discover the leadership qualities within themselves and become empowered to go back to their school or community and make a difference through the involvement in an “Above the Influence” group.

Above the Influence (ATI) is a national campaign that informs and inspires teens to work in partnership with community organizations to reject negative influences such as bullying, violence, peer pressure, drinking, using drugs or participating in other risky behaviors.  Every teen’s life is filled with pressure, some of it good, some of it bad.

The goal of ATI is to help teens stand up to negative pressures and influences. The more aware they are of the influences around them, the better prepared they will be to stand up to them.  It’s not about telling teens how to live their lives, but rather giving them another perspective and the latest facts so they can make smart decisions.  The training was sponsored by the Windham County Partnership for Success, through the Vermont Department of Health PFS Grant.

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