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Local youth life skills program starts Monday

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A life skills and career exploration program for eighth graders in Chaves County will occur online this year.

The fifth annual Maze of Life will officially launch Monday and continue until April 9 with a series of 16 videos on the group’s social media pages.

The series is hosted by the Chaves County Health Council, part of the state’s public health outreach and educational effort. It is co-sponsored by the Chaves County DWI Prevention Program and Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell.

Videos will discuss many topics, including the risks of tobacco and nicotine use, of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, and of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Suicide prevention also will be covered. In addition, career options will be discussed.

“We hope they learn to make better choices in life-changing circumstances and to be introduced to potential career paths and to help them start dreaming and setting goals for themselves,” said Jennifer Smith, coordinator for the health council.

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She said the program is intended to introduce youth to difficult topics in a safe environment so they can make “smart decisions that could save their, or someone else’s, life in the future.”

The videos can be found under the events section of the group’s YouTube channel or under the “events” section of its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ChavesCountyHealthCouncil/.