The fourth annual Project ABCD (Action for Building a Community that is Drug Free) Symposium was held in May 2014 in Sault Ste Marie. The theme of the day focused on Natural Highs. Over the course of the day student leaders shared the innovative initiatives they had presented to elementary school students over the course of the year as they delivered the message of making healthy choices. Student and staff attendees were asked to think about the natural highs in their lives and were challenged to direct themselves towards these natural feel good moments instead of resorting to the artificial (and often dangerous) highs of drugs and alcohol.
Dr. Matt Bellace returned again this year as the featured guest speaker. He is a clinical psychologist, a youth motivational speaker and the author of “A Better High”. His “How to Get High Naturally” program has encouraged over 100,000 students a year to pursue natural highs and to make healthy choices. His humorous and informative presentation (he's also been a stand-up comedian for 18 years) made a positive impact on the over 130 students who attended last year’s symposium, hence his return.
The symposium has become an annual year end celebration, acknowledging our students' hard work and the partnership among community agencies including Algoma Public Health, Algoma Family Services, OPP, RCMP and Sault Ste Marie Police Services.
(Left: Students & community partners pictured at fall planning session where initiatives are brainstormed and plans are made for the year. Right: SSM Police officers photographing their ABCD tattoos, and helping to get the word out about the initiative on their ABCD twitter account. )