Rochester Auburn Hills Community Coalition Youth Action Council Hosts Annual Youth Dialogue Day

The Rochester Auburn Hills Community Coalition (RAHCC) Youth Action Council hosted its annual Youth Dialogue Day on March 22 when over 150 students participated in activities around the theme of mindful self-compassion. Titled #friendyourself, community partners facilitated exercises with students that examined limiting beliefs, promoted positive affirmations and combatted negative behaviors. “The day was reflective, healing and bold,” said Maria Kopicki, youth coordinator for the Coalition and a teacher at Avondale Middle School. “Students will carry these messages back to their schools to help create more compassionate, inclusive environments.”

Self-compassion focuses on mindfulness, self-kindness and connectedness – all important to mental health. “As we are more compassionate with ourselves we can then extend that compassion to others and truly establish strong connections. It is in our isolation that we feel the most pain. Mindful compassion heals us from our pain and suffering,” said Judith Malinowski, MA LLP, who facilitated the day.

Photo of the Youth Council all wearing blue t-shirts, three rows, about 30 people facing the camera

Rochester Auburn Hills Community Coalition Youth Action Board at Youth Dialogue Day, 2018

The Youth Council is a group of engaged, diverse middle and high school students from the Rochester Community and Avondale area public and private schools who volunteer their time and talents to support coalition efforts to prevent underage substance use and to promote mental health awareness. “We provide a forum to address teen problems such as stress, anxiety, and peer pressure,” said Rohan Mohan, YAC president. “We want to harness the power that each teen owns to make healthy choices and to make a positive impact in our community.”

YAC meets on a regular basis to plan and organize community-based opportunities for teens to gather in safe, fun and substance-free environments. Youth Dialogue Day, the Coalition’s signature event, gives students a positive voice and distinct presence in the community as they work together with the Coalition and community partners to come up with creative ways to promote healthy, substance-free choices.

I am thrilled to work with this group of motivated, engaged students as they create programs, activities and forums to ensure that our kids are protected and safe,” said Kopicki. “We will work alongside RAHCC to arm our youth with the information they need to make healthy decisions that will affect their lies for years to come.”

Earlier this year, the Coalition, along with RCS PTA, sponsored two viewings of Angst, a documentary that features candid interviews with kids and young adults who suffer, or have suffered, from anxiety. The film includes discussions with mental health experts about the causes of anxiety and what can be done about it. Additionally, an informational event about the prevalence and dangers of vaping is scheduled for May 29 at West Middle School in Rochester Hills. The YAC is also hosting a fundraiser in partnership with Cyclebar in Troy between April 1 and June 1. Each time a RAHCC YAC Drop In Ride is purchased, all proceeds go toward YAC programming.

For more information about how to join the Youth Action Council or to learn more about the Rochester Auburn Hills Community Coalition and its activities, please visit rahcc.org.

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