Truth, Facts & Lies presented to area teens, tackling tough issues

Truth, Facts & Lies presented to area teens, tackling tough issues
KPLC-TV

SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - A new program to help teenagers understand the problems of human trafficking, social media safety and online solicitation is taking shape in Calcasieu Parish. The high school students from Calcasieu Parish talk about some pretty serious topics that include teenager abuse and suicide. It's part of a 7 session program called Truth, Facts & Lies, founded by nurse practitioner Kari Hankins.

"We send in 2 volunteers a month to talk about a hot button issue that is facing teenagers today," said Hankins, who is founder of the program. "It's not a lecture. It's a guided discussion. We want them to come up with prevention strategies because that's going to carry far more weight than if we tell them."

Teens are taught right away that sometimes human trafficking doesn't start right away.

"Traffickers can take months to groom someone," said Hankins. "It's not someone snatching you off the street. There's a relationship built first." 

They learn how social media can make victims out of teens.

"There are some things that you realize you have done in your past that can get you in serious trouble now and later whenever you are trying to apply for jobs and even colleges," said Hannah Harbert, a student at Vinton High School. "Whenever they look to see to how you are and what you've done in your past." 

"It all involves your mind and how you choose how to post yourself and what you post online and your emotions in your mind," said Sulphur High School student Gabriel Guillory. 

"They talked to us like we were adults," said Raeley McCann of Westlake High. "It wasn't lots of clip art and cheesy and appeals to the teenagers. It was straight facts. It wasn't unnecessary whatever to get it going and make it make sense. I appreciated that a lot." 

"I feel like this program shouldn't just be in Calcasieu Parish and not just in Louisiana either," said Jhah Cook of Vinton High. "I think it should be incorporated in schools all over the nation. It's just that great of a program."

The "Truth, Facts and Lies" program is currently in 9 area high schools with 3 more to be added in the fall. About 20 students from each school are chosen to participate. 

The Truth Facts & lies program has the support of the Calcasieu District Attorney's office, school board and Family & Youth counseling. Sponsors include Henderson Implement & Marine, Parker Creative Brands and SITI Construction. For more information, click here.

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