Wed, 25 May 2022

"This is our time now," say young rallying Ohioans

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman
10 May 2022, 13:09 GMT+10

Hundreds of Ohio teens join together Tuesday to bust myths about teenage substance use.

The "We Are The Majority" rally promotes the fact that most young people do not use drugs or alcohol.

Over the past ten years, thousands of young Ohioans have gathered at the Statehouse for the rally, but it will be virtual for a third year due to COVID.

High-school senior Ally Sprow is an Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network Youth Council member. She said they'll specifically discuss the impact of the pandemic on teens.

"It's really made all of us struggle with just trying to navigate every single day," said Sprow. "So, we thought that it was important to talk about how we can improve our mental health, but also to let teens know that they're not alone and that substance misuse is not the way to handle it."

The theme is 'The Teen Experience: Own Your Power.' Sprow said it speaks to the ability of young people to make the changes they want to see in their lives and the lives of their peers.

The virtual rally starts at 6 p.m. and will feature regional "watch parties" being held in five locations.

The Prevention Action Alliance hosts the rally, and alliance Community Prevention Manager Julianna Fellows explained it's truly a youth event, built by teens from all over Ohio.

"The biggest thing for them is the excitement of being able to share with their peers, but also the adults," said Fellows. "To say, 'This is our time now, and we are impacting our time right now.'"

Sprow added that young Ohioans will share what the teen experience means to them, how adults can be better allies, and what they want the future to look like.

"Making connections with one another, as well as making connections with the generations ahead of us and the generations to come, are really important," said Sprow. "Because when we try and change the world, we need to do it together."

About 8% of 12 to 17-year-olds in Ohio report using drugs in the past month. Links to the rally and on social media are online at 'preventionactionalliance.org'

Source: Ohio News Connection

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