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Indiana State Department of Health

Adolescent Health Services > Youth Summit Youth Summit


Indiana Convention Center March 13th, 2008

Special thanks to our lead sponsor

Peyton Manning Children's Hospital

To view the agenda for the summit, click here

Following is information on the opening speaker and afternoon keynote speakers:

Opening Speaker

Dr. Mann Spitler is a retired podiatrist. He serves his community now as President of the Community Action Drug Coalition of Porter County. On March 31, 2002, his twenty year old daughter, Manda, died from a self-administered lethal injection of heroin. Since then, Mann has dedicated himself to narrating Manda's Story to illustrate the risk factors associated with and the principles of drug addiction. Manda's Story is designed to inspire parents to protect their children from this brain disease. It is told to protect the young from themselves.  In August of 2007, Mann earned the designation of Certified Prevention Professional conferred by the Indiana Association of Prevention Professionals. He is now pursuing a certification in addiction counseling at Purdue University and writing a book detailing Manda's Story. He may be contacted at 219-464-9221 or at besafe@mandasstory.comClick here to read about Manda’s story.

Keynote Speakers

Rupert Boneham is best known for his accolades on two seasons of the CBS hit reality series, Survivor.  Competing on both Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: All Stars, Rupert quickly became the all time favorite competitor in the series. Rupert was awarded one million dollars after winning America’s Tribal Council.  A majority of his money went into the development of his dream organization, Rupert’s Kids.  This is a non-profit organization which mentors troubled and at-risk young adults.

Rupert’s life was shaped by his experiences and they have all played into his appearances on Survivor.  Now, as an accomplished author, Rupert shares some of his life and stories in his new book, “Just Being Me.”  Now you can learn what Rupert is about! What he is doing today and how he got to where he is now.  Click here to learn more about Rupert’s Kids.

Author. Educator. Poet. Artist. Tasha Jones is making her way to the top with books, Silent Killer, which includes Magic Johnson and Hydeia Broadbent, Coffee Thoughts, which landed her a spot on the legendary Showtime at the Apollo stage and viewed by Russell Simmons of Def Poetry, and the most recent, You don't know the Half, the Liberation of L.B.Jones which proves her tenacity to empower, educate, and uplift readers. Her works embody a refreshing soulful warmth that is much needed and solely missed. Her words bring the wisdom of "grandmas bones" and ride vibrations to places that force each and every reader/listener to move toward action. She is currently teaching an advanced writing course entitled The Write Me Project through Indiana University for AIM (a juvenile re-entry program), for young adults who are determined to be the change needed, righting society's ills through writing.  Click here to learn more about Tasha Jones.

Participants’ Feedback

The following is a summary of participant’s feedback regarding their experience at the youth summit.

  • Over half (58%) of attendees heard about the youth summit from their school.
  • Attendees indicated that they most enjoyed hearing personal stories from individuals who have lived through certain life events or previously engaged in risky health behaviors that negatively impacted their life and how they overcame such obstacles.
  • The top three topics attendees indicated that they would like more information about were relationships (21%), healthy weight loss (15%), and depression (9%). 
  • According to attendees, the most important information and take away message from attending the youth summit came from the breakouts addressing self-esteem (30%), drugs and alcohol (27%), and relationships (10%).
  • 92% of attendees said they would come back for this event or an event similar to the youth summit.

To review feedback on the various summit speakers, click on the following links: