INDIANAPOLIS---On March 13, the Indiana State Department of Health will partner with the Department of Education to convene teens at the Indiana Convention Center for a free youth summit "Reducing the Risks: Hoosier Teens Talk Health." The focus of the event is to involve Indiana teens in helping to find solutions to adolescent health problems like alcohol and drug use, obesity, suicide, and tobacco use. Three notable individuals have been invited to speak at the event in downtown Indianapolis:
- Opening speaker Mann Spitler, III, DPM, CPP will tell the story of the loss of his 20-year-old daughter, Manda, to a self-administered lethal injection of heroin in March 2002. Since December of 2002, Dr. Spitler 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, and it is told to protect the young from themselves. Dr. Spitler is a retired podiatrist who serves his community, now, as president of the Community Action Drug Coalition of Porter County.
- Keynote speaker 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."
- Fellow keynote speaker Tasha Jones is an author, educator, poet, and artist. Among the books written by Ms. Jones are: "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 was 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. 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. Tasha will appear at the youth summit courtesy of sponsor Clarian Health.
Note to reporters: Mann Spitler, Rupert Boneham, and Tasha Jones are available for interviews in advance of the summit. Please contact Ken Severson at the State Department of Health at: (317) 233-7104 or firstname.lastname@example.org you are interested in setting up an interview.
Peyton Manning Children's Hospital at St. Vincent is the lead sponsor of this statewide conference on adolescent health. To register for the summit or for more information, visit www.statehealth.in.govand click on the link below the logo for Reducing the Risks: Hoosier Teens Talk Health.
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