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So You Want to Build a Youth Coalition...



Our nation is in the midst of a substance use crisis unlike anything in our history. Our best and brightest hope for addressing these challenges are today’s youth. Their perspective, intelligence, drive and creativity bring us hope for tomorrow.


But how do we harness that energy? How do we mobilize an army of prevention minded young people to lead their generation into healthy, safe futures? Let us help you answer these questions, and more!

Brand New Online Course

This course is designed to provide step by step instruction on how develop a Youth Coalition. Whether you are at the beginning, middle or advanced stages of development this course has something for everyone! 



In July of 2018, at the request of young people in our community, Drug Free Cecil began to develop the idea of a Youth Coalition. (Drug Free Cecil is a collaboration between all prevention focused coalitions in Cecil County, Md.) After several months of planning our first meeting was held in November, 2018 at the offices of Youth Empowerment Source (YES).


YES represents the youth serving sector on our local coalitions and are experts in prevention and in everything youth related. Much to our surprise 20 youth representing all 6 county high schools were in attendance that first night!

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Three months later 9 of those youth attended CADCA’s National Forum and were inspired to take prevention in our community to another level! They were certified to provide peer to peer training on the dangers of Over the Counter medicine and began working on plans to provide a county wide Prevention Rally as a launch to National Prevention Week. With outstanding community support 8 students attended CADCA’s Mid Year Youth Leadership Institute in Dallas, Tx.

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Since that first meeting we have expanded to 7 prevention groups, comprised of the community based coalition at the YES office and a school based group at every individual high school. We have won local, state and national honors for our projects and activities. Best of all we have laid the foundation for community level change, led by our youth!

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Beth Creek

Executive Director,

Youth Empowerment Source

Beth Creek is the Executive Director of Youth Empowerment Source, known locally as YES. Working with more than 2,000 youth annually, YES has designed intervention and prevention programs to meet the specific needs of at-risk children, youth and families in Cecil County, Md. A former classroom teacher, curriculum developer and accomplished trainer/speaker, she has devoted much of the past decade to prevention. Beth also serves in leadership roles with several local coalitions focused on preventing underage drinking/substance use, and is the immediate past chairman of Drug Free Cecil. 


Virgil Boysaw, Jr.

Project Coordinator, Cecil County Drug Free Communities Coalition

Virgil Boysaw, Jr., serves as the Cecil County Drug Free Coordinator for the Cecil County Health Department.Virgil holds a Master of Public Administration degree from Bowie State University. Virgil previously served as the Prevention Services Program Manager for the Maryland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Administration and Program Supervisor for the Anne Arundel County Department of Health. 

Virgil was the National Prevention Network representative for the State of Maryland, served on the Prevention Status Reports (PSRs) on Excessive Alcohol Use (EAU) Project, and is currently a member of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Advisory Committee; and a Prevention Consultant for the State Targeted Response-Technical Assistance Consortium (STR-TA). Recently, Virgil has been appointed by Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan to the Advisory Council on Youth Camp Safety.




DFCYC works to increase protective factors through developing skills which include:

  • 16 youth were certified in the evidence based Over the Counter Medicine Safety program


  • Youth trainers provided 52 classes to over 1,000 6th grade students in OTC Medicine Safety

  • 6th grade students showed a 92% increase in knowledge based on pre/post surveys

  • DFCYC chapters were launched at all 6 county high schools

  • Youth planned and executed a Prevention Rally to kick off National Prevention Week

  • A Trunk or Treat/Drug Take Back Event was held on National Drug Take Back Day with over 1,000 community members in attendance. 

  • October 2019- DFCYC received a proclamation from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. ONDCP Deputy Director Kendal Ehrlich presented youth with the award.


  • November 2019- DFCYC was awarded the Raven’s Honor Row in conjunction with the Governor’s Office on Community Initiatives. The Coalition received 40 tickets to a game, a pregame stadium tour and an on field presentation of their citation.


  • January 2020- DFCYC was named as the 2019 Dose of Prevention Award winner. With competition from 50 other youth coalitions this award included a $1500 cash prize and $1500 scholarship to CADCA’s National Forum. The coalition will be honored at CADCA’s Awards Luncheon in February 2020.

  • communication

  • peer relationships

  • self-efficacy and assertiveness

  • drug resistance skills

  • reinforcement of anti-drug attitudes and

  • strengthening of personal commitments against drug abuse

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