EMPOWER participants in Washington, D.C.

By Hunter Barrett

EMPOWER is a youth led substance abuse coalition, with participants from both Scott County School District 1 and Scott County School District 2, according to Madelyn Shelton (12).

During the first week of February, Madelyn Shelton, Eliza Mount, Emma Christoff and six students from Austin High School traveled to Washington, D.C. to advocate to representatives.

The students advocated for specific bills regarding prevention such as the Stop Act and the Prevent Act. Shelton says that these bills fund things such as EMPOWER, the group that county students are a part of.

Students spoke to local congressmen like Representative Trey Hollingsworth, Senator Mike Braun and aids of Representative, Greg Pence. The student spoke to these representatives about why prevention is important.

To Shelton, prevention can be things such as education in schools and working with at risk youth and young adults.

“We got to branch out and take more personal, specific training,” said Shelton. “I attended one about marijuana legalization and how it affects thing such as traffic accidents. The potency of marijuana that people smoked in the 70s is not the same as they smoke today.”

Plans are already in the works for future trips, according to Mount. “The conference occurs each year in February in Washington, D.C.,”  said Mount. “We plan to continue to send representatives each year, if funds allow.”

EMPOWER’s trip to Washington was beneficial to EMPOWER and the community, said Mount.

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