'End It' program helping teenagers say no

Posted at 7:52 PM, Mar 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-28 04:23:25-04

A group of teenagers have have fun interacting, but there's a serious side to their meetings. They're learning not to give in to peer pressure.

Sixteen-year-old Xelny Rios said, "It has helped me mature a lot and it has helped me realize all of the dangers in the world and how to prevent myself from getting into the wrong situations."

Another participant, Carlos Binder who is a high school senior said, "Know how to deal with those things, how to say no and how to reject things that I don't want to affect my life."

The program called "End It" was inspired by this little girl, Sonia Dupree's daughter. Dupree made a promise that when her daughter got older, she would make sure she wouldn't give in to the  problems facing teens. "The concept of End It, everybody is not doing it, came when my daughter was in middle school and I noticed the different struggles that she had, as far as fitting in with what the popular crowd was doing."

Starting with Simone, Dupree reached out to other teens. "Creating a positive peer environment where other teens like her would have each other. It just caught on and then it was where were you on Friday night or what's this fun thing that I see you doing on Snap Chat on Instagram and then by word of mouth it continued to grow."

Guest speakers talk to the teens about tough topics some parents shy away from. Dupree added,  "Bullying, cyber bullying, abstinence, peer pressure, gang violence, all of those subjects."

These teen are ready to face the future. Xelny said, "Our bond, our connection, we are like a big family."

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