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Lauren Gallegos

By Lauren Gallegos

On Oct. 1, the Wellness & Prevention Center (WPC) will host Together4Teens at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo. Youth and local organizations plan this event to bring awareness to the pressures that teens face today and to provide resources for parents and teens who support family wellness.

After two years of virtual events, Together4Teens will be back live and in person, and the planning team is looking forward to seeing the youth and families who have stayed connected virtually and welcoming new attendees.

The first Together4Teens in 2019 featured mental health advocate and comedian Adam Grabowski to kick off the day, followed by workshops to promote mental wellness, build tools to support LGBTQ youth, build emotional resilience, vaping prevention education, and sessions that helped families understand the challenges of being a teen.

After the keynote speaker, family members and youth attended workshops of their choosing and came together to listen to a teen panel to wrap up the day.

In 2020, the event went virtual, incorporating Instagram Live, Instagram TV (IGTV), and daily posts. Parents joined virtual workshops on cyber safety and teen mental health during the pandemic.

   More than half of the youth workshops were led by youth themselves, including a Columbia University student who talked about racism and bullying, a high school senior who started a podcast to address difficult topics, and a high school junior who started a web-based magazine for youth mental health.

Together4Teens has reached more than 1,500 South Orange County youth, parents, caregivers, and youth-connected adults, and provided tools and education to support teens’ overall wellness.

We have heard from families and teens that this event allowed them a safe space to build wellness-promoting skills, learn more about community resources, and gain insight into the challenges facing adolescents in our community.

The 2022 Together4Teens will follow the same format as previous years, including a yoga workshop by Uplift Teen Yoga for youth and adults, and adult workshops with topics ranging from nutrition and mental health to tips for communication with teens.

Teen workshops will feature discussions about building healthy relationships, self-care, and music for wellness. In addition to workshops, the event will also feature keynote speaker Kara Long, a UC Davis student, mental health advocate, and cofounder of Teens4Teens Help.

All attendees may participate in workshops, hear from a panel of local teens, and learn about community resources. Youth ages 12-18, adult family members, and other youth-connected adults are invited to attend the event. You can also follow Together4Teens on Instagram for updates.

This event is free, and teens can earn service hours for attending. RSVP at bit.ly/22T4T. We hope to see you on Oct. 1 at Capistrano Valley High. The keynote speaker will begin at 9 a.m.; workshops and activities will follow. Any questions can be directed to lauren@wpc-oc.org.

Lauren Gallegos, ACSW, is the Prevention Director at the Wellness & Prevention Center.

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