Health rocks for area teens

Healthy lifestyles are part of summer fun for several area teenagers.

Six teen leaders visit area schools and youth organizations to teach late-elementary students about the importance of making healthy personal choices.

“Not only can we be a leader for them, but we can also be their friends,” said Jackie McCoy, 13, who volunteers as a teen leader for Health Rocks.

Teen leaders participated in a two-day training program to teach the Health Rocks curriculum, which educates children about dangers of alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse. The program also teaches children how to manage stress and peer pressure so they don’t resort to substance use.

“It’s not like an adult is telling them not to do drugs. They’ve heard that a million times before,” said 13-year-old Logan Riley. “When we say it, maybe (students) think, ‘They’ve been there before. They know what they’re talking about.’”

The program was offered at the Catawba County Cooperative Extension Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Students participated in healthy behaviors, such as making smoothies and taking an exercise class, to improve their decision-making abilities and communication skills.