Newton, Miss. With the annual education community health outreach program "I Got You" for 8th and 10th graders set to host over 3000 students this year, it has grown ten-fold over the past 5 years. Public Relations Director at Central Mississippi Residential Center Frankie Johnson says they have partnered with several agencies across the state.
"They talk about different topics that range from understanding mental illness, suicide prevention, alcohol and drug prevention, healthy relationships, healthy coping skills, things of that sort, and again, these are things that our youth are being bombarded with on a daily basis."
Jennifer Mackrell from the Care Lodge spoke about teen dating violence. She believes it's important to speak to youth at this age right when they're beginning to date so they know ahead of time what's right and what's wrong.
"1 in 3 have been, will be, or are in an abusive dating relationship. It's important, it's happening, and kids need to know what's healthy and what's unhealthy in a relationship, and that they deserve to be in a healthy, un-abusive relationship."
The Newton Fire Department was on hand to do drunk driving simulations, while the Mississippi Department of Mental Health spoke about drug and alcohol abuse. Johnson says that they tackle serious issues in this program, but try to do it in a way that is fun, and a way that they can connect with the students.
"We do various surveys with the school districts, and the results from those surveys indicate that the program has indeed been a success. As it continues to grow, we're gathering information, and we're trying to make this a program that's based more upon evidence."
In Newton, Jeff Burrowes, Newscenter 11.