December 31, 2015

Youth Can Make a Monumental Impact at CADCA’s National Leadership Forum

The leaders of tomorrow are being built today through CADCA’s National Youth Leadership Initiative (NYLI) and CADCA’s upcoming National Leadership Forum is one of two opportunities for young people to receive the NYLI Training.

NYLI alums and CADCA trainers, Lydia Heald and Alex Cook, will be suiting up to make aMonumental Impact at CADCA’s 26th National Leadership Forum Feb. 1-4 and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 12thAnnual Prevention Day.

The NYLI Key Essentials Course is great for youth who are new to coalition work or need more train­ing and the NYLI Advocacy and Policy Course will take them to the next level and prepare them for meeting with their local, state or federal legislatures.

“Young people have what it takes to make a positive difference in their com­munities. If you are in search of training that will give youth and adults the tools necessary to analyze and influence their communities in a positive way—the NYLI is it,” said Jasmine Carrasco, CADCA’s Youth Programs Manager.

At the NYLI training during the Forum, youth will learn how to develop and utilize the strategic prevention framework, logic models, how to identify what their community’s risk factors and local conditions are, comprehensive interventions and strategic action planning that contribute to environmental change.

Youth also have the chance to meet their local Representatives and Senators on Capitol Hill.

Heald, a sophomore at Iowa State University who attended her first NYLI as an 8th graderstill volunteers with the Van Buren Safe Coalition in her hometown, said meeting other youth empowered her to return to her community to make a difference.

“I am making a change, and am positive that I have touched at least one person that, in turn, makes a difference in their community,” she said. Heald also plans to engage with her coalition upon becoming a nurse.

For Cook, in his second year at Utah State University, the NYLI has been an almost indescribable experience, taking him out of his small town on Lopez Island, Wash., and helping him understand the bigger picture of prevention.

“At the time, prevention seemed so ‘big,’ but attending the NYLI helped me learn how to break the problem down into little steps so that I can make a difference in my community,” he said.

When Cook was volunteering with the Lopez Island Prevention Coalition, he was honored as CADCA’s Outstanding Youth Leader at the 2011 Forum, an award that has helped motivate him to continue to affect change.

“All of this has shaped me into a change agent, and I am grateful for the chance to be an NYLI trainer to help others,” he said.

You can read more about the NYLI and find training sessions for adults, as well, on CADCA’s website.

CADCA’s Forum will once again occur at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center outside of Washington, D.C. Groups of five or more attending CADCA’s Forum receive a discount. All groups must register and pay by Jan. 16. Learn more about housing reservations and register for the Forum at

New for 2016: Monday, Feb. 1st: All youth registrants are invited to take a tour of the U.S. Capitol. This is a separate event from the annual Capitol Hill Day that occurs on Wednesday, Feb. 3rdRegister here.

And don’t forget to join the conversation about our Forum on social media using hashtag #CADCAForum.

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