Southridge senior presents at international conference

Southridge High School senior Ruth Sherer gave a presentation at the international CADCA Forum on Jan. 30. 

CADCA stands for Community-based, Advocacy-focused, Data-driven, Coalition-building Association. It is an umbrella organization to which the Dubois County Coalition for Adolescent Resilience and Empowerment Strategies belongs. Sherer, the 18-year-old daughter of Doctors Rachelle and Ryan Sherer of Huntingburg, has been a member of Dubois County CARES for two years. She took the lead in getting CARES clubs started in area high schools. 

Sherer’s topic at the conference was “Whole Health Harmony: Navigating the Effects of Substance Use on Education, Mind and Body.” She spoke at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center just outside of Washington, D.C., to an audience of about 150, largely comprised of high school students from across the nation. 

Overall, the conference drew more than 4,600 attendees, youth and adult. 

Sherer noted that 17 percent of youth who use alcohol either abuse it or are dependent on it. She led table discussions on practical skills and resources to navigate the challenges of potential drug use and healthier alternatives for relieving stress. Her list of stress relievers included connecting with others, connecting with a faith-based community, taking a break from news and social media, getting plenty of sleep and exercise, taking deep breaths, meditating and stretching. 

She shared conversations she had with residents of Dove Women’s Recovery House in Jasper about how they became addicted to drugs. Ninety percent of adult addicts started usings substances before age 18, she said. 

She continued to say that of those who start using nicotine before age 18, 90 percent will become addicted. Of those who start using alcohol before age 18, 30 percent will become addicted. 

At the end of Sherer’s presentation, CADCA trainer Lindsey Roberts, of Muscogee, Okla., urged the young people to identify stress triggers and avoid those that can be avoided, establish a daily routine, talk to someone about their feelings when that would help, and identify resources and support systems in their home communities. 

Also at the weeklong CADCA conference, Dubois County CARES graduated from the National Coalition Institute’s National Leadership Academy. CARES Director Candy Neal and Assistant CARE-ordinator Martha Rasche participated in the graduation exercises as well as conference sessions. 

Dubois County CARES works to keep county youth alcohol- and drug-free through a variety of resources, activities and support. 

To learn more, visit, email [email protected] or call 812-827-8464.