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Contestants and Step Team   Pre-show photo


TeenFest(ival) is an annual health edu-tainment event focused on substance abuse prevention and violence reduction.  It kicks off with two concurrent workshops for teens, one workshop for adults and one workshop for elementary age youth.  All workshops are on topics relevant to the TeenFest theme.  The second part of the event is a teen talent showcase/contest with a twist; all acts must be original and must have an anti-drug or anti-violence theme.  Contestants are students ages 14 – 19.  Cash prizes are awarded:  $1,000 – 1st place, $500 - 2nd place, $250 - 3rd place.  A live DJ, door prizes, audience participation, information booths and a panel of celebrity judges help lend to the educational and festive atmosphere. 


TeenFest Public Health & Education Workshops (10:30 am – 12 pm)

TeenFestival begins with 4 co-occurring workshops: 2 teen workshops; 1 parent/adult workshop; 1 elementary age workshop.  The teen workshops have anti-substance use (alcohol, drugs, and tobacco) and anti-violence (gang prevention, dating violence) themes. The parent/adult workshop helps adults talk with their teens about these tough issues, offering tips to effective communication. The elementary age workshop teaches resiliency skills.

The workshops are presented by subject matter professionals who present information based on evidenced-based curricula supported by current funding (the State of NC, CSAP, SAMHSA). The goal of the workshops is to present the substance use and violence prevention facts in a way that helps students and their parents to identify how these risky behaviors interfere with the students’ daily lives (school, peers, and home). The focus is on providing students information that will help them to engage and persist in school (reducing both the achievement gap and the drop-out rate), and to hold themselves and their peers accountable for substance-free and violence-free behavior when adults are not around.


TeenFestival (1 pm – 4 pm)

TeenFestival  continues the messaging of the public health and education workshops by allowing the performers to be peer health educators for the afternoon. The performers include anti-substance use and anti-violence themes in their original performance art. In addition the audience has a chance to win prizes for correctly answering questions about substance use and violence prevention facts. The facts are compiled by the TeenFest foundation and are presented to them when they enter the auditorium.


Relevance to Education

As entertaining reinforcement of more long-term educational programming, through the workshops and talent showcase, TeenFestival contributes to goals of closing the academic achievement gap and school drop-out prevention. Click here for more information.


Data Collection

To assess the short-term goal of teaching substance use and violence prevention information, a survey is administered at intermission. The results typically indicate that attendees have learned the information that has been communicated to them in both the workshops and the talent showcase. Click here for more information.