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Making the awkward stage easier

Dale Thompson Of the Record staff

First Lady Huntsman believes there is "Power in You."

On Saturday Huntsman addressed the Utah School Boards Association at their 83rd Annual Convention. She was promoting her "Power in You" mentoring program that addresses difficult issues facing today’s youth such as teen pregnancy and substance abuse.

The program was inspired by one of her other projects, "The Bag of Hope" which helps children with juvenile diabetes. Diabetic children deliver bags of resource information and other useful items to children who are also suffering from the disease.

The concept of children helping other children led to the creation of "Power in You" for teens.

To help teenagers cope with the awkward stages the First Lady has assembled several "Power in You" ambassadors between the ages of 15 and 34. They speak in Utah schools and relate experiences dealing with topics from eating disorders to sexual abuse.

"It gives that child strength," she said, to hear the experiences of other people.

Huntsman’s own children are affected by problems that plague youth. She related a story about her daughter calling from school in Pennsylvania, she was upset because a popular football player had committed suicide.

"In that quiet heart is a quiet sorrow," she said.

The First Lady’s goal is to let suffering teenagers know they are not alone.

"No matter what life has given them they can get through it," Huntsman said.

She observes that many youth prevention programs go over the heads of the children they’re geared towards. The peer-to-peer mentoring in "Power in You" connects to teenagers and gives them hope.

"It’s about igniting that flame again in children," she said.

Through the experiences of "Power in You" ambassadors Huntsman sees an opportunity provide a catalyst for positive change in the lives of teenagers.

"We’re trying to change the children one story at a time," she said.


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