"We see them checking messages and Facebook between events" says James Patterson, executive director of the Partnership of African-American Churches. His organization used a grant to help pay for the drug summit held on Wednesday. While it may seem rude that the kids weren't paying attention to the message, Patterson said it gave him a great idea. "The best way to reach these kids is through social media...we need to start a social media movement about drug prevention".
A poster contest was held for the kids to come up with ideas for the social media movement. The winning poster will be the basis behind the campaign. The goal is to find a cool and relative way to get through to high school students across West Virginia.
While the poster contest and other interactive games for the kids were all about fun, a heartfelt message delivered by Deanna McKinney seemed to make it through to the students.
In April, Deanna McKinney's 18-year-old son Tymel was murdered on her front porch. She says he got involved with a bad group of kids which led to his untimely death. Now, she wants to spread a message to teens in her community about staying away from trouble. "I just want people to know that we don't have to live this way. We don't need to hurt each other. You all have potential to be something special", says Deanna McKinney.
She also talked about the importance of social media. She told the students "don't use social media to post bad pictures or mean statuses, use it to do something better with your life". She says she wants to continue her campaign for her son by using social media. She knows that Tymel loved Facebook and Twitter, so maybe if he had a positive influence on the internet his life may have turned out differently.