Two MLW Delegates Help Evaluate New Drug Prevention Training Program for Talbot County Students

Maryland Leadership Workshops (MLW) strives to give young people the courage and tools they need to use their voices to impact their communities. Recently, two 2018 Advanced Leadership Seminar (ALS) delegates were able to do just that when they were invited to participate in a workshop at the Maryland Association of Prevention Professionals and Advocates Annual Conference.

Hosted by Chesapeake Charities, the workshop brought first responders, educators, prevention professionals, and young people together to talk about how to effectively reach students with a message about the dangers of drug abuse. Specifically, participants were provided an overview of a new addiction prevention training program being piloted with students in Caroline County Public Schools. The program will be replicated in Dorchester and Kent County schools in 2019 and then made available to other counties across the state.

“When trying to talk to students about drug use and abuse, educators often don’t share the full picture or the real facts,” explains Linda Kohler, executive director of Chesapeake Charities. “They don’t want to scare them with the truth, but that doesn’t help in the long run. We wanted to hear from the students themselves about what they know, what they’re saying, and what we can do to make a difference.”

Linda knew it was important to have students participate in the workshop and share their points of view. She approached MLW executive director Anita Anderson and asked for recommendations of student leaders who may be interested and have insight to share. Anita recommended delegates Julian Shockley and Jordan Rose, who both completed ALS in 2018 and have been active in MLW since completing Middle School Experience in Leadership (MSEL) in 2014.

“There is an opioid epidemic in our community and the men and women I worked with during this experience are looking for ways to stop it,” says Julian, an 11th grader at Snow Hill High School in Worcester County.  “I felt proud that I was asked to participate in a workshop on such an important topic.”

“Addiction holds such relevance in my life,” says Jordan, a 12th grader at Kent County High School. “It’s a topic I’ve wanted to see discussed within my school, so having the opportunity to talk about it with educators and professionals felt like fate.”

Jordan brought a unique perspective to the discussion. While not an addict himself, he spent part of his youth in a recovery home, living among those struggling with addiction.

“I made friends with people who were on their path of recovery,” he explained. “I watched some as they left the house due to relapse, I watched some leave to start lives. I watched successes and temporary failures. The recovery community has been very influential in who I am for a number of reasons and being able to share my experiences to help other kids stay on the right path is something I find comfort in.”

Julian and Jordan have not taken the experience of being able to use their voices to affect change in their community for granted. Both young men are looking forward to continuing their education in order to be positive influences on those around them.

“Being at MLW was a very eye-opening experience for me,” explains Julian. “It made me more accepting of others with different backgrounds and appreciative of others’ thoughts and ideas. I’m now determined to get a good education and work on bettering myself in the future.”

“In my past four years of MLW, I have been given a voice,” says Jordan. “I have had an opportunity to speak out, confront friends, and I have been shown that with the right respectful attitude, I can use my voice to create change. This workshop challenged me to voice my opinion, and I do not know how effective that may have been without the relevance of MLW in my life. I will continue using my voice in the future, and plan to major in Ministerial Leadership and pursue a path towards becoming a preacher.”

Julian and Jordan’s participation in the workshop gave great insights into the minds of students, and Linda noted that using MLW delegates in similar situations is something she is looking forward to in the future.

“I was looking for young people who would have the presence of mind to be able to be in a room with high-level individuals and hold their own, and the boys just dove right in,” says Linda. “They really helped me facilitate the workshop and shared their own personal experiences. Their ability to lead a thought-provoking conversation in a room where they are the youngest people was incredibly impressive.”

“At MLW, we emphasize to our delegates that the discussions they are having and the skills they are developing in our programs will be relevant long after summer ends,” said Anita. “It was very rewarding to see Jordan and Julian apply the confidence and abilities they’ve gained at MLW to contribute to a conversation that will have real impact for other young people in the community.”

To learn more about Chesapeake Charities, visit

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