Substance Abuse Prevention Program
Youth Empowerment System
In 2002 the Youth Empowerment System (YES) was created to build the capacity for youth to plan, implement, and evaluate substance abuse prevention strategies in their communities.
The mission of YES is to promote the prevention of the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, as well as violence.
To accomplish this mission, the YES Steering Committee, composed of certified prevention specialists from across the state, works to empower youth groups across the state by (1) directing and evaluating funding proposals and plans to implement strategies that focus on prevention; (2) providing training on best practices; and (3) providing technical assistance on program implementation.
Youth groups comprise high school-age youth in grades 912. Through YES, youth across the commonwealth have stepped up to the challenge and exceeded hopes and expectations. Activities of these youth groups include:
- Educating peers on the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.
- Educating middle and elementary school students and serving as role models for these younger-grade students.
- Advocating for smoke-free school campuses and smoke-free local sporting arenas.
- Raising community awareness through articles in newspapers, letters to the editor, public service announcements on radio, and interviews and appearances on news programs.
- Educating key leaders and policymakers in the community on issues faced by youth.
- Advocating for social host ordinances to combat underage alcohol use.
- Working to change the culture and social norms of substance use and abuse in the commonwealth.
Each year prevention specialists from across Kentucky recognize the efforts and creativity of Kentucky's young people by honoring an outstanding groupof the year. Recognition occurs locally, regionally, and at state prevention programs.
The most recent group winners of YES awards include:
Youth Group of the Year: Fayette County Youth Coalition for Alcohol Education
Outstanding Achievement Award: Clark County KY-ASAP Policy Youth Network
Previous winners include:
- Barren County High School SADD
- Caldwell HS Champions
- Madison County Youth In Action
- Owen County TAPP Youth Task Force
- Owensboro Catholic High School SCRUBS