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Inaugural Youth Empowerment Summit to take place June 5-6

Marshall University’s Center of Excellence for Recovery, in collaboration with Community Connections Inc., PEP (Prevention Empowerment Partnership) and CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America), has announced the university’s first-ever Youth Empowerment Summit, a transformative event aimed at inspiring and equipping young leaders to make a positive impact on their communities. The summit will be held on Monday, June 5, and Tuesday, June 6, at the Memorial Student Center on Marshall’s Huntington campus.

“We firmly believe that young people in communities can serve as a catalyst for change when given the platform, opportunity, and resources,” said Tammy Collins, associate director of the Center of Excellence for Recovery. “Youth empowerment goes beyond mere participation; it is about equipping young individuals with the tools and knowledge to become change agents within their communities. By applying this empowerment approach to youth-led programs, we foster social and political awareness, enhancing their skills in driving positive change.”

The summit will offer a comprehensive program that caters to both adults and youth leaders. Participants can choose between two distinct tracks: the adult guide track and the youth leader track. The National Youth Leadership Institute (NYLI) training for youth leaders will be provided by a national team from CADCA. Content of the NYLI focuses on the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) and will allow youth leaders to leave the summit with action plans to bring about sustainable and purposeful change in their communities.

Notable speakers at the Youth Empowerment Summit will include Andrea Marquez and Nigel Wrangham, representing CADCA. Their expertise and experience in empowering communities are expected to inspire and motivate attendees to embrace their potential and drive change.

“We are thrilled to host the inaugural Youth Empowerment Summit,” said Amy Saunders, managing director of the Center of Excellence for Recovery. “This summit represents our commitment to nurturing the next generation of leaders and empowering them with the tools and knowledge needed to create a brighter future for West Virginia.”

Attendees will have the opportunity to earn certificates for up to 11 contact hours, which can be submitted to various West Virginia boards for continuing education credits.

Registration for the summit is free, and interested individuals can visit the event website at

Funding for YES is provided by a FY 2022 Congressional Directive Spending Projects grant to the Center of Excellence for Recovery from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; a grant to the Prevention Empowerment Partnership (PEP) from the United Way of the River Cities; and Community Connections Inc.