Clark County students share advocacy, prevention work in Be The Change summit

More than 100 local middle and high school students gathered this week to “showcase their advocacy and prevention efforts centered around the theme of resiliency.”

The second “Be the Change Youth Summit” included work from middle school youth from Greenon, Hayward, Ridgewood, Roosevelt, Schaefer, Shawnee and Tecumseh middle schools, and high school students from the School of Innovation (SOI) and BATS (Bringing Awareness To Students).

The event was a collaboration between WellSpring and Dance Stomp Shake that was held at Wittenberg University on Tuesday.

Beth Dixon, WellSpring prevention education coordinator, spoke on the summit’s mission, and said 27% of middle and high school students surveyed “said they would go to no one if they felt depressed or anxious,” which is an “alarming statistic that underscores the urgency” of the summit’s goals.

The day kicked off with motivational icebreakers led by SOI high schoolers where the students engaged in workshops that focused on peer-to-peer mental health strategies and other prevention-led activities. During lunch, it included silent party headphones, cash prizes for a dance contest and artwork creation.

A highlight of the day was the BATS group who recorded live podcasts discussing their advocacy work in the Wittenberg recording studio.

In the afternoon session, dozens of community members observed presentations by the schools on their progress since October, which were then evaluated by a group of high schoolers to award cash prizes to the most impactful ones. The winners, sponsored by The Wilson Sheehan Foundation, were $300 to Tecumseh Middle School for first place, $200 to Greenon Junior High School for second place, and $100 to Ridgewood School for third place.

“Youth Connect,” the youth advocacy of Dance Stomp Shake, also presented its inaugural “S.A.A.S” awards (Service, Academics, Arts, Student leadership) to three students. They were Melissa McMahon, Sophia Lopez-Ramirez and Emerson Babian. The awards, sponsored by The Springfield Foundation, included a plaque and a cash prize to support their various activities.

Dance Stomp Shake Inc., by founder and executive director Julius Bailey, became an an arts and education based charitable organization and nonprofit in 2022. For more information, visit or

About the Author