This February, the VSB SACY program was featured in front of 1,500 youth, teachers and parents from across the province who were attending Balancing Our Minds 2014: Tools for Youth Wellness at Rogers Arena. The event was organized by BC Mental Health & Substance Use Services in partnership with the Vancouver Canucks.
The one-day workshop was for high school age youth in BC to learn about mental health and engage in fun activities and thoughtful dialogue. Because of the connection between mental health and substance use, SACY was a natural fit to be a presenter.
Art Steinmann, SACY's manager says the conference's organizers invited Kelly Melsness, a SACY Youth Engagement /Prevention Worker, who packed a lot into her few minutes on stage. Melsness talked about youth voice and the importance of youth speaking up, the correlation between substance use and mental health, key issues regarding adolescent decisions and substance use, the value of adult allies and how to get connected.
Steinmann says the youth he saw genuinely got the SACY message.
"From what I saw the youth were super attentive to the youth voices in the short video clip Kelly played," he said. "Her talk was fast-paced, used a variety of teaching techniques, held youth interest and I think caused the students to think more deeply about substance use related issues."