July 31, 2019
LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY) hosted a Faith-Based Information Breakfast, co-chaired by two Board members, who are ordained ministers. The Information session titled, “Join us for a conversation about the role that Faith-Based organizations play in promoting safe, healthy, and drug-free lifestyles for our youth,” included an introduction to LCAHY’s mission/vision and Drug-Free Community goals. At this inaugural event, twenty pastors and youth ministers were provided resources and an overview of 2018 student CTC data, with an emphasis on risk factors and the low perception of harm of e-cigarette use. A questionnaire to assess their knowledge of youth substance use was administered, after which they were given the questionnaire and responses to use with their respective youth ministries. Following a conversation, facilitated by the co-chairs, the consensus was that prayer and faith are protective factors; however, proactive action, such as education, is also necessary. The evaluation summary shows that the attendees learned information about adolescent substance use they did not know prior to attending the event such as that 90% of addictions begin during adolescence. Pastors plan to share resources, materials, and lessons learned. 99% reported that the session was both informative and beneficial. Several expressed an interest in assisting with planning future faith-based sessions and trainings. Future plans include a training for youth ministers, which will provide them with the tools to institutionalize prevention education within their youth programs.