May 19, 2016
Youth Tobacco Prevention in Sheridan Heights
July 5, 2016

Montgomery, Ala. – While many young men were spending Thursday afternoons doing other things, four male high school students learned how to become leaders while participating in the Young Men’s Empowerment Academy (YMEA).

Graduating students with Lowndes County Commissioner McAlpine.

Graduating students with staff member Antonio Edwards, Behavioral Health Prevention Specialist (far left) and Lowndes County Commissioner McAlpine                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

In March, the Council on Substance Abuse-NCADD (COSA-NCADD) implemented YMEA, an after school prevention program in Lowndes County for males in grades 9-12.After completing 2-hours of weekly substance abuse and violence prevention education, life skill development, social and recreational activities for 10 weeks, a graduation ceremony for the Class of Spring 2016 was held on May 19, 2016. Family members, friends, STEP staff and even Lowndes County Commissioner Carnell McAlpine were on hand to congratulate the students on their accomplishments.

The graduates were Jeremy Morgan , Jonathan Washington, Timcorien Motes and Syicorie Edwards.

One parent remarked at the changes she saw in her son over the course of the program. “He used to be quiet and reserved, but then he started coming home sharing with us the things he was learning and the activities they were doing.”

Program Coordinator, Antonio M. Edwards, MPA, APS, a Behavioral Health Prevention Specialist with the Council on Substance Abuse (COSA), shared his thoughts for how the young men progressed throughout the program. “I am so proud of this first group of guys, they have truly grown from our first meeting to this graduation,” said Edwards. “I hope they will take the lessons learned and experiences gained and apply them to their daily lives in order to continue making good decisions that will positively impact their lives and the community.”

The program is only available to male high school students attending schools in Lowndes County. Participation requires a referral from school staff or a juvenile probation officer. The next 10 week session begins August 3, 2016. For more information, contact Mr. Edwards at 334-262-1629 or

YMEA is a program sponsored by COSA-NCADD and partly funded by the Alabama Department of Mental Health in partnership with the STEP Program in Lowdnes County.

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