Youth Empowerment Society, Tennessee Teen Institute
Jackson, TN – Students from Hamilton County, Tennessee joined 490 youth leaders from across the state at the Tennessee Teen Institute. The Tennessee Teen Institute is a five-day youth leadership and prevention camp sponsored by the Jackson Area Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency (JACOA). This year marked the 37th Anniversary of the Teen Institute Program in Tennessee. The program addresses teen issues such as bullying, violence, suicide, teen pregnancy, distracted driving, teen health, and substance abuse prevention through a five-day, peer-led prevention camp designed to provide teen participants with the skills and education necessary to develop and implement alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs in their own communities. This is a comprehensive program that trains, mobilizes, and empowers youth to prevent the illegal use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and self-destructive behaviors in themselves and their peers. TTI prepares students to not only make positive changes, but to be proud advocates of those changes. Students will have the opportunity to grow and learn as individuals, while enhancing their leadership abilities. Because TTI is peer-led, teens are given a unique opportunity to have a “voice” in addressing issues important to them. Giving youth some ownership in this type of program is one of the key factors in the success of enforcing a substance free lifestyle.
Held on the University of Tennessee at Martin campus in Martin, Tennessee, June 11th-16th, TTI 2023 hosted approximately 500 teen leaders, adult advisors, and TTI staff. These participants leave motivated not only to make healthy decisions in their own lives, but also committed to work so that others are making healthy decisions in their communities as well.
Mission statement for the Teen Institute Program is:
“To empower Tennessee’s youth to lead by example and take an active role in bringing about positive changes by giving them the skills, knowledge, and support they need make healthy choices, build positive relationships and live substance free lives.”
The Tennessee Teen Institute is funded in part by grants from TN Department of Health, TN Department of Mental Health Division of Substance Abuse Services, TN Highway Safety Office, and State Farm. JACOA is a nonprofit organization funded in part by the State of Tennessee and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.