DRUG-FREE YOUTH BECOME MENTORS

The Church of Scientology International co-sponsored a recent conference held in Los Angeles to empower 80 drug-free youth as Drug-Free Mentors. Coming from around California, Washington State, Missouri, New Mexico, Virginia and Florida, the 14 to 25-year olds were nominated locally as persons of good character who want to help others be drug-free.

Drug-Free Youth Become Mentors
The youths spent a full day learning about the effects of drugs, how to deal with drug-related social problems they encounter and participated in a lively panel discussion with three veteran law enforcement officers. The Foundation for a Drug-Free World provided plenty of drug education booklets and posters for immediate use to everyone and Foundation Ambassador and TV actor, Jason Dohring, led the group in taking the Mentor Pledge. The 26-year old actor said that drug education helped him decide at an early age to stay away from drugs and also positively influence his friends. "Today education about drugs is something everybody needs," he said.

A 17-year veteran Los Angeles Juvenile Narcotics Detective, who was part of the discussion panel, helped answer questions on everything from law enforcement duties, to the dangers of drugs and how they change body chemistry. As to why kids get involved in drugs in the first place, he said the reasons vary but that youth who have developed self confidence are able to stand up to peer pressure and make proper decisions. "That's really important," he said.

Conference organizer and Say No to Drugs, Say Yes to Life Coordinator for the Church of Scientology International, Wendy Beccaccini said safer communities is the objective of the Mentors conference. "Drugs are a serious community problem youth see and deal with daily," said Beccaccini. "Our youth need help and nothing talks like experience and mutual respect. They all learned a lot about issues that matter to them and you can bet they're telling their friends all about it."