Youth for Justice Academy Completes Fourth Year of Leadership Training

August 24, 2016

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The fourth annual Youth for Justice Academy recently completed its two-week summer leadership training at the Alcohol Justice headquarters in San Rafael’s Canal Neighborhood.

Between 20 to 25 youths, ages of 11 to 18, participated in activities that focused on building leadership skills, nutrition training, exercise, drug and alcohol prevention, and direct action to improve their community.

The Academy summer program operates under the auspices of Alcohol Justice with the collaboration and partnership this year of the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition, the Marin County Probation Department, the National Park Service, Marin County Parks, and Trips for Kids.

Program highlights included field trips with Trips for Kids Marin to the Presidio, Fort Baker, Stinson Beach, and McNear’s beach, one of Marin County’s parks. The students also worked in the 129 Canal Garden, planting and harvesting fresh vegetables that they cooked and drank down as smoothies.

Guest speakers Ashel Eldridge, an Oakland-based rapper, environmental activist, and founder of Earth Activated, and Ernesto Hernandez, a Mayan Elder who teaches indigenous Meso-American art. Their talks at the Youth Academy centered on ancestral wisdom and native culture designed to nourish creativity and empowerment.

“It is a joy to see a beautiful group of young people come together,” says Maite Durán, Community Organizer for Youth for Justice. “Their energy is amazing. I find it personally inspiring to see them develop these skills and understanding in just two weeks. My hope, going forward, is that they will continue to make a contribution at home, their schools, or in their communities.”

Participants in the two-week summer program are encouraged to join the Youth for Justice year-long program that meets on Friday afternoons. For more information about Youth for Justice or the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition, contact Jorge Castillo at (415) 257-2488 or Maite Durán at (415) 257-2499.

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