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Mental Health Center to host youth symposium on drug prevention

Johnson County Mental Health Center, in partnership with Cleveland University — Kansas City, will host a youth symposium, formerly the youth leadership summit, to promote good health and positive choices for young people. The event will be held Thursday, Aug. 31, at Cleveland University in Overland Park.

Media are invited to attend the event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Interviews will be available from 8:30 to 9 a.m. and 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

Approximately 200 students in Johnson County are expected to take part in the one-day event.

The Mental Health Center will use the youth symposium to educate student leaders in middle and high schools about prevention skills related to alcohol, tobacco and other drug use as well as to promote mental wellness.

“The youth symposium provides student leaders an opportunity to learn from their peers and introduces them to experts in the field with proven strategies to make positive change in their schools and communities,” said Shana Burgess, director of prevention services. “We value our partnership with local schools and student leaders and believe in their ability to make a difference in the community.”

The student leaders will hear a motivational message from nationally recognized speaker Dr. Julie Conner, participate in breakout sessions featuring drug-free clubs that have achieved high levels of success, and exit with an action plan to be implemented in their schools and communities.

Participating school districts include Blue Valley, Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Gardner-Edgerton and De Soto, with St. Thomas Aquinas and St. James Academy.