Forty youth from the Hmong American Friendship Association (HAFA) youth program took their Alcohol Tobacco and Drug (ATODA) prevention training class to camp on Wed., June 9th to kick off the HAFA summer youth program. Youth ages 14-18 will travel to Menomonee Park for three days to learn about alcohol and drug prevention and connect with nature at Menomonee Park.
The camping trip is part of an annual recognition for youth who have shown great conduct, volunteerism and good grades during the school year. “We have to show our children that hard work, good citizenship and dedication to learning pays off. The camping trip is an incentive for all of our youth to be good citizens and to do their very best in school each year,” said HAFA executive director, LoNeng Kiatoukaysy.
In 2009, the HAFA youth program was awarded the Fighting Back Grant from Jewish Family Services. The goal of the grant is to educate youth about the dangers of alcohol, drug and tobacco use (ATODA). The grant allows for an evidence based curriculum in a class room setting to educate youth about self-worth, like skills, and financial and educational planning. Youth also learn to address peer pressure and how to make good decisions. “The Hmong American Friendship Association does great things in our community. The HAFA is an example of how non-profit and community partnerships lead to successful programming and great results. I am proud of their efforts to educate and train youth,” said State Representative Tamara Grigsby.
The HAFA staff was joined by State Rep. Grigsby to encourage the students and staff to continue their success. The students traveling to camp received new dictionaries donated to the HAFA by the AT&T Pioneers. A representative from AT&T was also present to help provide dictionaries to the students. “We are grateful for the support of State Rep. Tamara Grigsby. She is a very thoughtful and hardworking legislature who deeply cares about our community. State Rep. Grigsby has been a great friend to the Hmong community. We also appreciate the continued support of AT&T. These new dictionaries will mean so much to our students. I am certain that our youth will put them to good use during the upcoming school year and for years to come,” said Kiatoukaysy.