Lack of sleep, fear of missing out, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. These are just a few of the symptoms many users of social media platforms are experiencing. And no wonder, according to the Pew Research Center, 81% of teens in the U.S. use social media, putting a large population at an increased risk of feeling anxious, depressed, or ill over social media use.
Fountain Hills Cares is a Town of Fountain Hills community event to share and discuss important issues. On Thursday, April 20, starting at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Center located at 13001 N. La Montana Drive. Fountain Hills Cares will have an informative discussion with experts on how social media platforms affect youth and how parents can stay in touch with their children.
Presenters include Katey McPherson, the Director of Professional Development for Bark for Schools, an artificial intelligence app that protects over 5 million children using personal and school-issued devices. McPherson has a vested interest in youth mental health and led the ONE GILBERT suicide prevention initiative under Mayor Jenn Daniels of Gilbert, Arizona, and was a member of the Teen Mental Health Ad Hoc Committee under the leadership of Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers.
Shelly Mowery left AZFamily Channel 3, where she was the executive producer for evening newscasts, to join Maricopa County Attorney's Office to create another essential program, Drug-Free Arizona, a substance abuse prevention and education organization. After leaving the MCAO, Mowery has developed prevention programs, media campaigns, and professional development training that has been instrumental in reducing youth drug use in Arizona.
The third presenter is Elena Zavalza, Latinx Coordinator for notMYkid, which provides youth, families, schools, and community partners with high-impact prevention education and early intervention programs. The non-profit offers programs and training focusing on substance use, vaping, bullying, relationships, trauma, body image, mental health, and internet safety for youth, adults, and the community. The organization serves over 100,000 youth and adults each year.
Fountain Hills Cares is a free community event. Community organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Scottsdale, Not My Kid, Maricopa County Public Health, Salt River Schools, Fountain Hills Coalition on Drugs, and others, will be on-site to provide resources and answer questions. Specialists in mental health will present important information and answer questions. Those planning on attending this free event are encouraged to RSVP at www.fountainhillsaz.gov/Fountain-Hills-Cares.
In addition, the Fountain Hills Coalition is sponsoring a $500 cash prize raffle open to all attendees who must be present to win.