National 4-H Council Hosts Youth Summit to Celebrate National Drug Facts Week

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Launches new game app that promotes drug, alcohol and tobacco use prevention

Chevy Chase, MD (January 30, 2014) – Today, in celebration of National Drug Facts Week, National 4-H Council will host the Health Rocks! Youth Ambassador Summit in partnership with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). During the event, Council will launch the Health Rocks! Carnival app—an interactive, carnival-themed learning game designed to help youth enhance and test their health knowledge.

Created by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Move Creative, the app is an extension of 4-H’s signature healthy living program Health Rocks!, and is the first app developed for a national 4-H curriculum. Health Rocks! equips youth with the necessary skills to make healthy lifestyle choices and avoid risky ones. In addition to previewing the app, youth attending the summit will participate in a panel discussion with NIDA scientists on issues of drug, alcohol and tobacco use. The event will take place at the National 4-H Youth Conference Center, 7100 Connecticut Avenue, Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815.

The 4th annual National Drug Facts Week takes place January 27–February 2, 2014. The week-long event, launched in 2010 by NIDA, provides an opportunity for teens to shatter myths about drugs and drug abuse. In community and school events all over America, teens and experts come together for an honest conversation about how drugs affect the brain, body and behavior. Students also have the opportunity to ask scientists questions about drugs, or discuss NIDA materials designed for teens.

“We are thrilled to partner with NIDA and present the Health Rocks! Youth Ambassador Summit, which will expose youth leaders participating in Health Rocks! to top notch experts in their field,” said Jennifer Sirangelo, National 4-H Council President & CEO. “To date, the Health Rocks! program has impacted more than 400,000 youth since implementation 15 years ago. The innovative app will now allow 4-H to significantly increase youth impact by offering more accessibility to the program.”

As part of the celebration, David Mineta, deputy director of Demand Reduction for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, will serve as keynote speaker. Lisa Lauxman, director, Division Youth & 4-H at National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA, will also take part in the ceremony along with staff from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who will provide background on how the app was developed. Youth representatives from eight states who have implemented the Health Rocks! program will present on substance abuse issues most affecting their community. The event will allow youth to gain more insight about the effects of substance abuse to further assist their local program implementation.

“Every new generation should have the tools they need to meet the challenges of the 21st century,” said David Mineta, deputy director of Demand Reduction for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Research shows that drug education and prevention are the most cost effective ways to reduce drug use and its consequences. We’re pleased that the Health Rocks! Carnival app will work to provide yet another way for young people to make healthy decisions about their future.”

About Health Rocks! Program and Carnival App

The Health Rocks! Carnival app, created by Shane Potter and Lyndsey Pohlmeier of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Jeff Abele of Move Creative, is the first app developed for a national 4-H curriculum and will serve as an extension of the existing Health Rocks! program. The app provides an exciting, interactive user experience for Health Rocks! program participants. Players select an avatar to navigate through a series of games and provide answers to drug facts questions, earning health points as they go along. The more correct answers the player provides, the farther they advance in the game until they reach a superhero status; fewer health points earned may result in an unhealthy avatar. Program participants have the option to download the app for the iPad or access the desktop version.

The Health Rocks! program targets youth ages 8 to14 and provides the necessary skills to make healthy lifestyle choices and avoid risky ones, including alcohol, drugs, and tobacco use. As part of a comprehensive school health program, a research-based tobacco-use prevention curriculum using an experiential learning model is used to reinforce the efforts of school programs across grades. In addition to the 10+ hours of educational programming youth experience, the curriculum also offers specific activities to engage families and communities to support drug prevention of youth.

Outcomes measured show that youth participants demonstrate knowledge, skills, and attitudes toward prevention that empower them to influence the behaviors and decision-making of peers, family members, and the community. Through 2011, Health Rocks! reached more than 356,890 youth in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Guam. In 2012, the program reached more than 78,000 youth and is projected to reach another 100,000 youth in 2013-2014.

News Source : National 4-H Council Hosts Youth Summit to Celebrate National Drug Facts Week

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