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Students taking on prevention

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Amarillo, Texas - Local students are taking a creative approach to help educate their peers on issues teens face.

Issues such as bullying and substance abuse are being addressed as part of the third annual Students Taking On Prevention, or S.T.O.P., Film Festival. The festival gives students a chance to educate their peers on a range of topics today's teens face.

"I wish we had these programs back then that we do now because I would have like seen somebody on the school news saying, hey don't worry about it, you're not the only one. Just stand up. Don't be afraid to," Alexis Sotello, senior at Palo Duro High School and film maker says.

Sotello and her partner, Annissiya Brashears, both say they've been bullied in school before, which was the driving force behind the video they created for the S.T.O.P. Film Fest.

Students throughout the panhandle created videos on topics to be used in education programs at local schools.

"It gives them the power to change their community. It gives them a voice, especially a positive voice in what can sometimes be a negative world," Melynn Huntley, director of AISD's Safe SChools/Healthy Students says.

Huntley and other organizers say kids get tired of hearing from adults they may not relate to.

"We want to be able to show something that they hear coming from another teen because they speak their own language. We can show this film and then engage in open discussion with them about what they just saw," Brandi Reed, director of Education for Family Support Services says.

The use of these videos has played an important role in prevention efforts in Amarillo.

"I think it's a piece of what's helping things improve at our school. We've implement a very comprehensive program over the past few years, and this is just a piece of it. But if you look at the trend in Amarillo, we're kind of bucking the nation, and that our numbers are improving where a lot of the number in the nation are not," Huntley says.

New topics are added every year to the festival based on what is most relevant to our teens at the time.

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