As CHILL members, we desire to make positive choices in our own lives, realizing that the underage use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can impair us from reaching our goals in life. In addition, we care about the health and safety of our peers and want to communicate to our community the issues concerning youth.
— Adopted Fall 2002
Empowering our community to make healthy choices
Who We Are
CHILL (Communities Helping Improve Local Lives) Youth Task Force of Martinsville and Henry County, Virginia, is a grassroots youth movement started in 2002 to encourage youth to make healthy decisions regarding substance abuse in their own lives and influence others to do the same.
The first group of CHILL students included 47 youth. Since then, more than 900 students have received training, and members represent all four of the public and private high schools in the local area, including Bassett, Carlisle, Magna Vista and Martinsville.
The Prevention Team of Piedmont Community Services conducts training for CHILL members each summer covering topics including trust and team building, decision-making, media influence, and the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
During the school year, CHILL members meet together monthly to hang out, have pizza, and plan events such as the annual youth rally or media campaigns. Coordinators within each school guide CHILL clubs, who meet regularly to plan events and activities for their schools, including National Red Ribbon Week, which celebrates a drug-free life.
CHILL’s initiatives are bolstered by the work of Drug-Free MHC, a collaborative partnership of adults that meets monthly and works to build a safe and drug-free community through education, prevention and networking resources.
CHILL applications are accepted during the spring of each school year. Drug-Free MHC welcomes new members year-round.
Youth often feel:
- There’s nothing to do here.
- I can’t change negative influences.
- My community doesn’t care about me.
- Adults think we’re careless and lazy.
- Alcohol and tobacco are easy to get.
Community benefits include:
- Role models for peers and younger youth.
- Substance abuse prevention education.
- Positive community change.
- Greater youth attachment to the community.
- Youth workforce with experience in leadership and community organization.
- Provide drug-free events and activities for youth.
- Learn and educate others about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- Support positive choices for themselves and others.
- Learn the value of community service.
- Learn a sense of belonging by becoming part of a group of like-minded youth.
- Become empowered through civic engagement and community leadership.
- Become change agents within their networks.
- Feel connected to and valued by their community.
- Help lower alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use.
- Show adults that youth can be wise and make good decisions.
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