Northlanders with Vision Speak Hard

Local Youth With Vision Members from Clay, Platte and Ray counties – including Platte County R-3 student Nicole Futch – were among the 385 Missouri youth who gathered in Jefferson City for the 10th annual Speak Hard Youth Conference held March 26. The event was hosted by Missouri’s Youth/Adult Alliance (MYAA) at the Capitol Plaza Hotel.Speak Hard is designed to give young advocates the opportunity to learn about underage drinking, substance abuse, and prevention. The Missouri Division of Behavioral Health sponsored the event. This year, Speak Hard 2014 featured a keynote presentation by well-known motivational speaker Heather Schultz. Miss Missouri Teen USA, Samantha Bowers, was the luncheon speaker. Morning breakout sessions focused on researched and validated information about marijuana, underage drinking, suicide prevention, drug trends, tobacco and medication abuse, as well as provided instructive information on meeting with legislators. Following the luncheon, participants learned how to effectively use social media in youth advocacy efforts, and applauded eight youth who were each honored with MYAA's Outstanding Youth Award. The day’s event concluded with a follow-up visit to the legislators representing the Northland. The Youth With Vision Members had previously met with the legislators at a Prevention Day event in January. The Northland Youth With Vision serves as a youth advisory council for the Northland Coalition, supported by Tri-County Mental Health Services.