The TRAIL (Taking Responsible Actions in Life) program is an intensive mentoring program that utilizes the Search Institutes asset building approach to improve the lives of teens in our community.

A select group of high school leaders are extensively trained and given opportunities to confidently serve as role models and educators to help instill positive attitudes regarding healthy decision-making. To be considered for TRAIL, individuals receive a community, peer, and school nomination.

Once nominated, students go through a rigorous application process and only a percentage are selected as final participants. The mentors dedicate hours of their time to be trained in mentorship, leadership and diversity. Their passion to advocate for equity and better the lives of others in this community is possible through their service as educators, friends, and allies.

“At our fourth training we discussed substance use issues. We talked with officer, Sergeant Klinglesmith about substance use and how it affects Cabarrus County. The information informed us how substance use impacts our age group and how we can bring awareness. Delton Russell with Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, focused on the neurological issues regarding substance use. It amazed me how the development of the mind can be hindered due to early onset of substance use. In all of the information I learned, I will definitely inform not only my friends and peers, but also the greater community of the repercussions of substance use”. Nicolette Barbee, Senior.

“TRAIL has proved to be impactful in teaching physical as well as emotional health among the youth of our community. During one training, we discussed what healthy relationship look like and how to successfully foster one. This training was valuable to me because we learned tools for our own lives to have healthy relationships and to share that knowledge with our peers. Learning about healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationships is important and relevant to ensure youth in our community or living healthy lives. This training helped me realize the significance of healthy relationships and in my future I will create healthy relationships with my loved ones”. Audrey Ladele, Senior.

“TRIAL not only gives teens the tools to enact change, it connects us with other teens in the county with similar interests and passions. One training, the TRAIL mentors shared life experiences. We sat together, laughed, cried, offered support and encouragement, which brought us closer together. Through my two years at TRAIL there has been a saying that has always stood out, “Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind, Always.” As we told our funniest, saddest, or happiest memories that night, we were all vulnerable. That vulnerability allowed us to truly bond and appreciate on another, despite our differences. I will make sure to keep an open mind to everyone I encounter, especially after our bonding night. I’m excited to learn more about my peers and to be able to work with them to make real change in our community”. Blaine Mercer, Senior

Nicolette Barbee, Audrey Ladele and Blaine Mercer are TRAIL mentors.

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