LCAHY Hosts May Day 5K Walk/Run

May 15th, 2021

The LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth hosted a 5K Walk/Run in Oyster Factory Park in downtown Bluffton, SC. Grey Anne Cummings, former President of Teens for Healthy Youth at Bluffton High, now a university sophomore, served as LCAHY’s USCB intern for the project.  LCAHY sponsors set up tables at the start/finish line and were also recognized via LCAHY’s website, May Day 5K T-shirt, and event flyer.  The title sponsor of the 2021 race was Beaufort Memorial Health Link for Children.  LCAHY Board and Teens for Healthy Youth members staffed the event.  In addition, a Teens for Healthy Youth member at Cross Schools developed the logo for the race.  Her drawing included a spring flower and read “Racing for a Healthier Community” as featured on the race shirt.  LCAHY’s inaugural race fundraiser had over 150 participants. Mayor Sulka of Bluffton attended the race. Overall, the event was very successful in helping LCAHY raise funds and create an awareness of the coalition and its vision to unite the community to promote positive choices for our youth.  LCAHY plans to host the walk/run annually as a way to raise funds and support the sustainability of LCAHY.  

THY Members Recognized During LCAHY Board Meeting

The LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY) held a recognition ceremony for Teens for Healthy Youth (THY) during a LCAHY Board meeting via Zoom.  THY, LCAHY’s youth coalition, was applauded for their numerous accomplishments during the 2020-2021 school year.  LCAHY’s Youth Coordinator, Laura Pirkey, commended the youth for their dedication to promoting positive teen health during an unprecedented school year and shared key contributions via a PowerPoint presentation. The PowerPoint showed youth participation in national campaigns including DEA’s Rx Take Back Days, NIDA’s National Alcohol and Drug Facts Week, and SAMHSA’S National Prevention Week. The THY groups also addressed teen stress during COVID by creating videos, informational flyers/brochures, and making their own stress-free fair. Wendy Cummings, Chair of the LCAHY coalition, stated that THY is the jewel of the coalition and announced her excitement that THY would be expanding to include Heritage Academy next school year.  Additionally, Dr. Novice, the consultant for LCAHY and THY, congratulated the youth for being one of the most active and productive sectors of the coalition.  Finally, the 2020-2021 Teens for Healthy Youth Outstanding Senior, Audrey Weidner, was recognized by LCAHY’s Youth Coordinator during the ceremony.  Audrey Weidner will also be recognized during Bluffton High School’s Senior Night and Mayor Sulka of Bluffton plans to include THY members in the Bluffton Mayor’s Community Service Ceremony in May.

THY Recognition Event 2020-2021 (2)

Members of Teens for Healthy Youth (THY) Receive the Mayor’s Service Award


Six members of Bluffton High School THY were recognized by Mayor Sulka of the Town of Bluffton for their outstanding community service.  The Mayor’s service award is presented annually to high school youth that do a minimum of 30 hours of community service.  Mariana Mata Perez received Gold Recognition for exceeding 100 hours of community service and the other students received Silver Recognition.  The youth engaged in various community service work including volunteering for the DEA’s National Rx Take Back Day events, peer-to-peer education during NIDA’s National Drug Facts Week, and assisting during the LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth’s May Day 5k Walk/Run. Mayor Sulka praised the youth for volunteering in their community and encouraged them to continue making a positive difference in the lives of others in their schools & community.  About THY: The mission of THY is to promote positive teen health through leadership, positive youth development, peer-to-peer education, advocacy, and community service.

All 2021 Recipients Evie Cartmel, Reese Marcotte, Mariana Mata Perez, Emy Contreas, Illa Hodges, Audry Weidner

Illa Hodges THY

LCAHY promotes SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week & May Mental Health & Substance Abuse Awareness Month 2021

May 2021

During the May Bluffton Town Council Meeting, the mayor issued a proclamation joining LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth in raising awareness about positive mental health and substance abuse prevention. The proclamation acknowledged May as Mental Health and Substance Abuse Awareness Month and declared May 9th- May 15th, 2021 as National Prevention Week in the Town of Bluffton. During National Prevention Week, Joy Nelson, the media representative on the LCAHY Board, gave an interview on WHHI to create awareness for Mental Health and Substance Abuse Awareness Month. She also highlighted the accomplishments and efforts of Teens for Healthy Youth to address mental health and substance use issues. To view her interview, go to  Additionally, Teens for Healthy Youth at May River High School created an awareness of National Prevention Week’s daily themes by developing their own morning announcements for students that reflected the daily NPW themes.  

LCAHY sent an E-News Alert promoting May Mental Health Awareness Month  and National Prevention Week, which provided information and resources.

National Mental Health and Substance Use Prevention ProclamationTown of Bluffton 


Audrey Weidner Recognized as LCAHY’s Outstanding Senior Award Recipient 2020-2021

May 21, 2021

Audrey Weidner was recognized by LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth (LCAHY) for her dedication and service to LCAHY and Teens for Healthy Youth (THY). The LCAHY Outstanding Senior Award is awarded annually to an individual of LCAHY’s Youth coalition, Teens for Healthy Youth, that promotes positive teen health and choices through leadership, community service, peer to peer education, and advocacy. Audrey Weidner was chosen by the selection committee for her extensive and enthusiastic role as a youth member of the LCAHY Board, for her participation in LCAHY/THY community events, and for her leadership in THY at Bluffton High School throughout her high school career. LCAHY’s Youth coordinator highlighted Audrey’s accomplishments during the LCAHY Recognition Event via Zoom and the LCAHY Board thanked Audrey for her numerous contributions to the coalition.  Audrey’s THY Advisors noted that Audrey was exceptional in educating her peers on the dangers and risks of drugs. Audrey was also highlighted for her active participation in community forums and for representing THY’s youth voice in television interviews. She volunteered to distribute coalition Rx Facts at the DEA’s National Take Back Day, conducted alcohol and tobacco environmental scans in Bluffton and Hilton Head, and accepted a proclamation on behalf of LCAHY/THY issued by the Town of Bluffton during National Prevention Week, among other accomplishments. During COVID, she created videos to help her peers cope with stress in healthy ways and engaged in a youth leadership training to increase her knowledge and skills when conducting peer-to-peer education. Audrey will attend USCB in the fall and plans to pursue a career in nursing. Audrey hopes it will be possible to continue working with the coalition while at college and would like to start a college-level prevention program for her peers at USCB.

THY Encourage Peers to Participate in National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week Trivia Challenge

March 22nd-March 26th, 2021

Teens for Healthy Youth (THY) at Bluffton High School encouraged their peers to participate in NIDA’s National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week Trivia Challenge.  During morning announcements, THY members declared that Bluffton High would participate in National Alcohol and Drug Facts Week and encouraged their peers to take the trivia challenge during their lunch.  They informed their peers that two individuals that completed the challenge and turned in their certificate of completion to THY Advisor, Laura Pirkey, would randomly be selected to win a gift card.  The Bluffton High School student news entitled “No Cap News” covered the event in their report.  One important fact that the peers learned during the event is that teen brains are still developing and are susceptible to drug use and abuse. Approximately, 700 students participated in the event. To view the student news please go to (coverage starts at minute 1:45).  THY plans to engage their peers in year-round prevention education to prevent and reduce teen use of drugs and alcohol.

Mrs. McDonagh’s class completed the National Drug and Alcohol Fact Trivia Challenge.

THY Cross Schools Educate Their Peers on Dangers of Drugs During National Drug Facts Week

March 22nd-March 26th, 2021

Teens for Healthy Youth Members at Cross Schools educated their peers on the risks of drugs during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. Posters were created and posted throughout the school promoting National Drug Facts Week.  A video was shown to 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students during homeroom, which highlighted National Drug Facts Week and promoted the upcoming LCAHY/THY May Day 5K Race.  A Kahoot from NIDA for Teens was played with 7th, 8th, and 9th-grade students that educated youth about the risks of e-cigarettes, alcohol, and other drugs.  THY members distributed Drug Fact Cards to 7th, 8th, and 9th-grade students and their teachers. The fact cards contained facts about drugs and alcohol from NIDA’s website and encouraged teens to be “Smarties and not Dum Dums”. See pictures of fact cards below. This activity reached 30 seventh graders, 35 eighth graders, and 23 ninth graders. THY at Cross Schools plans to do more peer-to-peer education this spring.


THY Promote Random Acts of Kindness at Bluffton High School


Members of Teens for Healthy (THY) at Bluffton High School engaged their peers and staff in Random Acts of Kindness Day.  The intent of the event was to promote kindness in the school as a way to help individuals deal with challenges and hardships created by the COVID-19 Pandemic. Additionally, THY wanted to promote kindness to discourage bullying, racial inequity, and other risk behaviors that make an individual more susceptible to alcohol or drug use. THY members, Reese Marcotte and Erick Aguilar, announced that it was Random Acts of Kindness Week during morning announcements and shared ideas with the student body and staff on how they could engage in random acts of kindness throughout the day. THY also shared a video on Random Acts of Kindness with their face-to-face and virtual peers via Google Classroom. In addition, THY members distributed candy and positive messages to their peers and staff.  Positive messages were displayed on yard signs in the front of Bluffton High. Furthermore, they showcased a banner in the lunchroom that reads, “Bobcats, Make Kindness the Norm Every Day”, which also included the THY logo. They plan to leave up the banner year-round and hope their event will make kindness contagious. Beaufort County School District filmed the event and posted the video on their Facebook page. To see this video go to  The event reached over 1,500 students and 150 staff members at Bluffton High School and was viewed over 100 times on the Beaufort County School District website.


THY at Hilton Head Prep Host Stress Free Fair

December 10th and 11th, 2020

Teens for Healthy Youth (THY) at Hilton Head Prep hosted a Stress-Free Fair to help their peers manage stress before final exams during COVID-19.  To help their peers manage their stress,  THY students arranged for their peers to make essential oil stress balls, and enjoy hot chocolate and cookies made by HHP chef.   THY also supplied color encouraging bookmarks to support healthy coping strategies before exam week. Around seventy students participated in the two-day event.  THY at HHP plans to do a monthly project that will promote positive teen health at their school.

THY at Cross Schools Address Stress During Exams Week

December 14th-December 16th, 2020

Teens for Healthy Youth (THY) at Cross Schools launched a three-day stress project to help their peers manage stress during exams week. On the first day of the project, THY members greeted their peers in the carpool lines with posters they designed that had positive messages.  They also played festive music for the students and individually offered encouragement to their classmates.  The theme of the day was, “You’ve Got This!”  On the second day, THY invited pups to join them for “PAWS and Take a Breath”.  As students arrived at school,  the pets were there to interact with the students and help them destress before their exams. On the third day, THY launched “MINT to Succeed and EncourageMINT”.  THY distributed THY Stress Fact Cards to students, parents, faculty, and staff as they arrived at school.  THY reminded all at Cross Schools to stay positive and look for healthy ways to manage stress, rather than defaulting to unhealthy ways, like using drugs or alcohol.  THY distributed over 400 stress fact cards and reached over 400 students in grades K-12 as well as parents, faculty, and staff members of Cross Schools.  THY at Cross Schools is pleased with the success of their first project and look forward to working on more projects in their inaugural year to promote positive teen health.