Shattering The Myths: Baltimore

On a blustery February day, 250 high school students from five DC and Baltimore area schools interacted with top U.S. scientific experts and inspiring guest speakers at the NIA/NIDA Biomedical Research facility in Baltimore.

18 July 2016 | News

The name and purpose of the program is to ‘Shatter the Myths’ that young people often have about drugs. Students from Cesar Chavez and Idea Public Charter Schools, from Washington DC, and Baltimore students from the Reach Partnership School, City Neighbors Charter School, and Vivian T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy were all enthusiastic participants in a day long program designed to get teens to consider what is truth and what is fiction regarding media images about drug use.

Shattering the Myths showed me that there are people out there who care about the well-being of the youth and the future of our country. It also showed me the harsh realities of drug abuse and how it doesn't just affect the user but the family and surrounding community as well.

Student, Cesar Chavez Charter School for Public Policy

During the innovative event, developed by Mentor Foundation USA and refined by experts, all students were able to interact with a leading NIDA scientist to get the facts about the effects of drugs on a young person’s brain, and ask questions important to them.  Dr. Lonise Bias, a well known speaker familiar with the topic due to the loss of her two sons in two separate incidents related to drugs, spoke about the need to make wise choices, especially about friends.  Perhaps for some students, the highlight of the day was the opportunity to be led by professional spoken word poets and then to compose their own original poems structured around four provocative questions that dealt with students’ feelings about drugs and drug use.  Some especially brave students then volunteered to perform their original poems, describing their experiences and feelings around substance abuse in front of the entire audience of about 400 students.  Judging from the attention and applause given, the poems were very well received.

Shattering the Myths has been one of the most interactive and effective field trips that these students have participated in. IDEA Public Charter School is excited to attend further Mentor Foundation USA Programming to build a strong partnership.

Principal, Mark Sturdivant IDEA Public Charter School

In order to assess what students learned during the event, each student participated in an IQ challenge using interactive “clickers” whereby the statisticalresults to each question were displayed on a large video display for all to see.  This made the experience more engaging for all involved, and it was quite interesting to see how the same questions were answered before and after the program. For more information on the results of the survey click here.

See all the photos from the Baltimore Shattering The Myths on our Facebook page!