My Choice Matters

The “My ChoIce MATTERs” Youth Summit was held at Cape Cod Community College. 70+ students attended from local schools including: Cape Cod Regional Technical High School, Dennis-Yarmouth High School, Lighthouse Charter School, Mashpee Middle-High School, Monomoy Middle & High School and Wayside Academy

More than 70 kids seated at the youth summit

The theme of the day was “Dreams Not Drugs.” In small, age-appropriate groups youth were engaged by facilitators in interactive and experiential learning activities and participated in discussions about choosing health behaviors to reduce substance use. 

Students in recovery from opioid use disorder came from Rockdale Recovery High School and delivered peer messages and answered questions during the Recovery Panel.  Slam poet Matt Ganem closed out the day with a power performance about his path to addiction and the impact it has had on his life.

Education curriculum, highly interactive exercises, and a facilitator training guide were created in support of this event. This day-long summit was co-designed with students in recovery.  The small groups were led by facilitators.  This event is now available for other school systems.

But don't listen to us, hear what the students had to say...

Did anything you learned today change your mind about using drugs or drinking?

  • Yes. “Long term effects” - Cape Cod Regional Technical School- 9th grader
  • Yes. “Drugs ruined my life” - Monomoy High School- 12th grader
  • Yes. “How careful you have to be” - Dennis-Yarmouth -11th grader
  • Yes. “Nicole” - (Nicole is a Rockdale Recovery High School student panelist). Dennis-Yarmouth -11th grader
  • Yes. “Mostly, knew a lot of it, but listening to their stories showed the real side of abuse”- Dennis-Yarmouth -11th grader
  • Yes. “Don’t use there is no way back” - Dennis-Yarmouth -11th grader
  • Yes. “A lot about marijuana” - Dennis-Yarmouth -10th grader
  • Yes. “Just listening to their stories” - Dennis-Yarmouth - 9th grader
  • No. “The reason being my family has users and those in recovery so I’ve seen it firsthand” - Dennis-Yarmouth -9th grader
  • Yes. “It showed me how much using and drinking can affect me”-Lighthouse Charter- 6th grader
  • Yes. “It could lead to addiction and depression”- Monomoy- 8th grader
  • Yes. “How fast you can get addicted to drugs” - Monomoy- 8th grader
  • Yes. “Just because a doctor approved a drug does not mean it’s completely safe” - Monomoy- 7th grader
  • Yes. “It can affect your future”- Monomoy- 7th grader
  • Yes. “The major thing that changed my perspective on drugs was the large amount of people doing it at a young age” - Mashpee- 8th grader
  • No. “I know many alcoholics so I made my mind up a while ago I wouldn’t drink or use” - Mashpee- 8th grader
  • Yes. “Drinking is even worse than I thought”- Lighthouse Charter- 8th grader
  • Yes. “How it is bad for you”-Lighthouse Charter- 6th grader

What was the favorite part of the day for you?

  • Human Body Map
  • Q & A
  • Push Taxi game
  • Learning about good ways to refuse drugs
  • Playing Games
  • Thumper - Name Game
  • Slam Poet and All the Group activities
  • Meeting new people
  • The Panel (of students in recovery)
  • Listening to everyone’s stories and recovery
  • Hearing from Andy
A circle of kids at the youth summit