The following piece was provided by Samantha Chan of the Watertown Youth Coalition:
On Wednesday evening, March 20, 2019, the Watertown Youth Coalition Peer Leaders had their theatrical debut in a skit called “Welcome to Rehab”, which was written as a collaboration between the Improbable Players and Peer Leaders, and directed by Andy Short. This impactful performance depicted what addiction to substances can look like for both teenagers and adults, and how it affects the important people in their lives.
Following the act, the Peer Leaders facilitated discussions around substance use, racial equity, sexual and gender identity, and mental health. These topic areas were drawn from quotes of attendees of the 2018 Town Hall meeting. Each topic area highlighted a concern affecting the well-being of youth in Watertown. Through these conversations, strengths and challenges were drawn out, and action steps were outlined for the Watertown Youth Coalition and community members to work on through the remainder of the year.
This event was well attended by community members of all ages. Student advocacy was especially strong with a group of young eighth grade women, who took their space at the table to address their concerns around substance use for fellow middle school classmates.
The Watertown Youth Coalition would like to say thank you to: the Watertown Free Public Library for supplying the space to hold this event, as well as to the staff members who provided support through the planning process and throughout the night. Andy Short from the Improbable Players for working weekly with the Peer Leaders to prepare them for their theatrical debut. The Watertown Youth Coalition Steering Committee members for taking on various roles throughout the night. And to the Peer Leaders for taking time out of their busy high school schedules, weekly, to address issues that affect the well-being of all of the youth in Watertown.
A very special appreciation to Demos, Donahue’s Bar & Grill, Ixtapa Mexican Cantina, Miller’s Ale House and The Half-Way Cafe for their generous and delicious food donations. The annual “Well-Being of Watertown Youth” event is supported by Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s Multi-Service Center, Watertown Public Schools, Watertown Police Department, and the Watertown Health Department, and partially funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Town Hall Community Talks 2019.