Local Teens “Find Their Voice” At Teen Institute 2017

When Alida arrived at the 38th annual Teen Institute for Prevention Leaders (TI) this past June, she was excited, proud…and more than a bit nervous.

Alida had attended TI in 2016 as a participant, but now, having been selected to return as one of 14 interns for TI 2017, Alida would have a larger role to play. Interns work closely with NCADA staff to ensure that all aspects of this four-day seminar – designed to train high school students to prevent substance misuse among their peers – run smoothly and that all participants gain the maximum benefit from this immersive experience.

Alida’s progressive experiences in substance use prevention led her to apply for the TI internship. She explains: “After TI last summer, I became a TREND officer at my school and a HiSTEP peer teacher.* Throughout the school year, I volunteered to help at NCADA, whether that was filing, cutting paper, or whatever was needed. TI helped me gain new ideas for prevention activities to do with friends, to bring to my school, and to get started in my local community!”

Gathering in Dittmer, Missouri, 71 teens representing 34 area high schools (as well as homeschool), attended TI 2017. This year’s theme was “Find Your Voice,” and participants were encouraged to advocate against the damages created by the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Through various workshops, they broadened their knowledge about chemical substances and the effects and consequences of use. They heard from individuals who had fought addiction in their own lives.

When they weren’t busy learning, the teens recharged by paddle boating, fishing, playing games, and just relaxing with new friends. They even learned to square dance and mastered self-defense moves!

At TI 2017 our teens gained a network of supportive peers dedicated to making a difference. They left with the enthusiasm, confidence, and skills to use their voices as leaders of health and wellness in their schools and communities.

To learn more about TI, visit

*For more information on TREND (Turning Resources and Energy in New Directions) and HiSTEP (High School Taught Education Program), call NCADA at 314.962.3456.


Teen Institute depends on generous gifts and grants to partially cover the registration fees, so that no student is turned away for lack of resources. We thank the following contributors for
helping make TI 2017 possible:

  • Clifford Willard Gaylord Foundation
  • Franklin County Community Resource Board
  • Missouri Department of Economic Development, Youth Opportunities Program
  • Missouri Department of Mental Health, Division of Behavioral Health
  • Missouri Partnership for Success
  • Rockwood Drug-Free Coalition
  • Rotary Club of St. Louis
  • St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund
  • United Way of Greater St. Louis