Local teens learn to 'Say It Straight' with United Way

NASHUA – Imagine feeling pressured to do something that you don’t want to do, but not having the skills to stand up for yourself and say “no.” Many young people today make unhealthy decisions based on peer pressure, which often leads to such things as juvenile arrests, teen pregnancy, alcohol and other drug use.

Through a grant from the Nashua Region of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, in collaboration with a Venture Grant from United Way of Greater Nashua, local teens can now learn a better way. Counselors at The Youth Council have been trained in the national program Say It Straight, designed to help children and teens develop good communication skills, positive relationships, self-awareness, and personal and social responsibility with an emphasis on preventing of violence, substance abuse and high-risk behavior. In addition, participants learn to honor themselves and others and discover who they can trust.

At a visit to the Youth Council, Nashua Region Advisory Board member Mark Prolman learned more about this nationally-sanctioned prevention program. Executive Director Betsy Abrahams shared lessons learned from piloting the program over the last several months, most recently with a group of teens arrested by local police for minor, first-time offenses.

Since teens are most often influenced by their peers, equipping today’s youth with heightened self esteem and healthy communication skills is clearly a good investment.

For more information, visit www.nhcf.org or contact Senior Program Officer Anne Phillips at 255-6641.