Since 1988, Youth for Youth Guam has aimed to help teens from all over Guam and surrounding islands to conquer teenage problems, to encourage them to be drug-free, to be fruitful members of our community, and to be better leaders for Guam’s future.

This year’s theme is “Diversity over Division,” and rising junior Reese Artero from Guam High School attended the April conference because “it helped people find out how to deal with certain issues they face.”

The attendees were able to do this through the different workshops they were able to take part in. These workshops addressed relevant topics such as drug use, sexuality and mental health.

Artero is grateful that she was able to participate in the different workshops, such as suicide prevention and creative expression through art.

Apart from the workshops, another key component of the three-day event featured the different family groups.

Family groups were made up of about 10 to 15 attendees and three to four facilitators, who were student volunteers chosen to lead different parts of the conference. This year, there were over 60 students who were chosen to be facilitators. But ultimately, the 19 family groups brought over 300 students together to take part in hands-on activities.

Christine Degracia, a rising senior at Simon Sanchez High School and first-time facilitator, says she was inspired to lead because she has been a participant in Youth for Youth for the past four years.

One of her goals was to create a “bond with her fellow Youth for Youth participants.”

Degracia also was grateful that through this opportunity, she was able to “show them positivity” to ensure that they “have a good example.”

A key takeaway that the enthusiastic junior has learned was the importance of hard work, whether it be through the preparation or in the event itself.

Not only does Youth for Youth unite students from around the island, the event also encouraged the youth from nearby islands to attend.

Tasi Long, a student at Tinian High School, recalled one of the most important things that he learned from the event.

The sophomore said, “We’re all equal, so we should treat everyone with the same respect, regardless of their background, culture, or sexuality.”

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