La Porte County “Above the Influence” Youth Leadership Summit, Saturday, October 25, 2014 for LaPorte County Students Grades 7-12

La-Porte-County-SealThe La Porte County Drug Free Partnership/Drug Free Communities Coalition and the Michigan City Housing Authority are the catalysts in implementing the La Porte County "Above the Influence" Youth Leadership Summit. The Youth Summit begins on Saturday Oct. 25th from 8:30-4:00 at St. John"™s Church in Michigan City. Summit organizers recognize that all young men and women have leadership potential and can play a role in making our community a better place if given the chance to develop, make good decisions, healthy choices, and have a voice in the community, regardless of their life situations. The summit focuses on prevention, acceptance of responsibility, without excuses, and becoming a community leader and change agent

Organizers want to cultivate community-based La Porte County youth leadership to encourage them to live Above the Influence of negatives that may derail their future. Summit organizers will encourage school administrators and youth serving organizations to have representation at the Youth Summit that is reflective of the entire county. Targeting a total of 200 middle and high school age youth from throughout La Porte County, the event is free to participants and will provide a day of inspiring speakers, breakout sessions, meals, fun activities, prizes, I-Pad raffles, awards, and a parent forum featuring Dr. Mann Spitler. Participation is limited an applications will be selected from a cross section of area middle and high schools and from area youth serving agencies. Applications will be available through schools and youth serving organizations and are due no later than October 8th, 2014

Parents and community members are also strongly encouraged to attend a special parent forum, "Perspectives on Protecting Our Youth" featuring Dr. Mann Spitler scheduled in conjunction with the Youth Summit from 1:00-3:00 at the Marquette Mall 7th floor community room Dr. Mann Spitler and his wife, Phyllis, lost their 20-year-old daughter, Manda, when she injected herself with a lethal dose of heroin on March 30, 2002. Since December of 2002, he has told Manda's Story to every public and private group that has invited him. Dr. Spitler said "The purpose of verbally detailing her addiction and subsequent death is to prevent drug abuse and addiction. As much as I would like to personally protect every young person from addiction to drugs, I can't. But, Manda's Story can help them protect themselves. It also stimulates parents to take the specific actions needed to protect their children. Manda's Story has the power to change life-threatening behavior and I remain committed to telling it. " While most parents will say that their child will not make those choices, we know that all youth regardless of their background are exposed to so much and are faced with many pressures and risk factors that make them vulnerable and may impact future success.

Summit organizers include:
Samara Mc Neal, Michigan City Housing Authority Family Self Sufficiency Coordinator
Micki Webb, La Porte County Drug Free Communities Grant Coordinator
Allison Goshorn, Purdue Extension, La Porte County
Joan E. Ganschow, Life Changes LLC. & Commission for the Social Status of African American Males
Faye Moore, NAACP Vice President
Mary Foell, Purdue Extension La Porte County
Kila Ward, PNC Student Services
Judy Quigley, Foster Printing

Some of the Major Sponsors of the event include:
Michigan City Enrichment Corp
La Porte County Drug Free Partnership
Purdue North Central
Michigan City Housing Authority
First Trust Credit Union
Unity Foundation

Questions or requests for applications may be directed to Samara McNeal at 219-872-6521 x 204 or at smcneal@emcha.org