More than a hundred students attended the 8th annual West Virginia Students Against Destructive Decisions state conference this weekend. Many of the attendees say they joined their local chapter after experiencing or witnessing bullying, school violence, and drug abuse in their classrooms.
"It literally tore me down to where I thought that I was nothing and had no self worth at all," said Hannah Barker, a victim of bullying.
The hardships Barker's experienced spurred her to join Students Against Destructive Decisions. She was one of the student leaders present at the state conference this weekend.
"If I have the chance to spread the word and help other people like myself out then I'm going to take it," said Barker.
The two day conference featured workshops directed towards addressing topic and problems that affect today's teenagers. Some of the issues include drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and unwanted sexual advances.
Participants say it is sometimes challenging to speak up to peers, but skills learned at these workshops helped boost their confidence.
"By having SADD, they now have a voice," said Larry Kendall, the WVSADD State Coordinator. "They are not part of that perceived minority - I don't drink so I'm left out."
The conference hosted 112 students from 22 different schools. Organizers say they hope these representatives will help spread the message throughout the state.
To learn how to start a SADD chapter in your school or community, you can head to: http://www.sadd.org/chapterreg.htm