The St. Landry Parish Children and Youth Services Planning Board will host the 2016 St. Landry Parish Youth Boldly Living As Smart Teens (BLAST) event to be held Friday at the Yambilee Building in Opelousas, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m, according to a news release.
The St. Landry Parish School District has sanctioned and approved this event that targets all seventh-graders in St. Landry Parish Schools — public, private, and charter. This parish-wide event is a collaborative effort with 25 other non-profit organizations, state agencies, local municipal governments and businesses.
The Youth BLAST event has received funding from the Louisiana Office of Behavioral Health, the Ekhaya Youth Project/Family Support Organization, Aetna Inc., and the Amerihealth Caritas Louisiana in addition to sponsorships through the St. Landry Parish Government and the CYS Planning Board membership.
The event brings together music, drama, humor and inspiring speakers to help teens make positive, healthy choices.
Organizers said they believe the upbeat atmosphere of this event is an effective means
•To educate teens about the importance of good mental health
•To provide a neutral platform for open dialogue among teens and service providers
•To assist teens in making healthy life choices
•To promote sexual abstinence by presenting current information regarding sexually transmitted infections and their impact on teens
•To prevent teen HIV/STD transmission, pregnancy, school drop-out, violence, substance abuse and tobacco
“This year’s event marks the fourth consecutive year of partnering with the St. Landry Parish School District to continue this event that now targets seventh-grade students,” said Norman Rene, drug court coordinator of the St. Landry Parish Drug Court Program and chair of the St. Landry CYS Planning Board. “The original event, established in 2001 as a ‘rally,’ was known as the Back-to-School Summit that targeted eighth-grade students. Now, we are hoping to impact a younger audience with the same messages and program package but focusing more on available services that address adolescent developmental needs.”
For more information on the Youth BLAST event contact its co-chairs Dale Fontenot at 337-308-7051 or LaVonya Malveaux with the Opelousas City Court at 337-948-2570 ext. 101.