central region learning collaborative

Central Connection

Join us for the “Central Connection,” where adults who work with youth will learn and collaborate to make a difference in our Central Ohio communities.

The Central Connection will continue to plan and implement our identified regional focus on raising awareness and decreasing anxiety and depression among youth. How you ask?

Adults will be equipped with skills, new ideas and proven techniques to take back to your youth-led groups to facilitate change!

Collaborative meetings

January 22, 2021 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Zoom)

Guest Speaker: Matt Bellace

Since 1995, Matt Bellace has been a professional speaker and stand-up comedian.  Each year, his programs encourage over a hundred thousand youth and adults to purse natural highs and be resilient in the face of stress.

Dr. Bellace has a Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology, which is the study of the brain and behavior.  He worked at the National Institutes of Mental Health, and completed his internship at the traumatic brain and spinal cord units at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.  His dissertation focused on the neurological underpinnings of emotional memory.  If you want a good night’s sleep, he encourages you to read it in the International Journal of Neuroscience.

He’s the author of the book, A Better High, a contributing author for the National Geographic Kids and was a recurring comedian on truTV’s “World’s Dumbest.”

Matt’s virtual presentation will focus on mental health during the pandemic, resilience and using natural highs as coping skills.


February 26, 2021 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Zoom)

Guest Speaker: Andy Duran

Andy Duran has been the chief executive of LEAD since May 2012. In the past 8 years, Andy has taken LEAD from a small community organization into a Nationally recognized prevention organization that offers programs and services all over the country.  One of his biggest accomplishments is the development of Text-A-Tip, a 24/7 crisis text line that is now available to more than 10 million people. Andy speaks hundreds of times per year in schools, churches and communities across the United States.

You’re Connected, but Are You Engaging?
Being connected and being engaged are 2 totally different worlds.  In this Adult Forum, participants will learn about tools and strategies that can be used to engage with our teens and other stakeholders in a remote world.


March 26, 2021 – 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (Zoom)

Guest Speaker: Javier Sanchez

Javier inspires and equips youth and adults to be intentional about experiencing life to the fullest in a healthy, safe, and positive way. Through comedy, spoken word poetry, and p

owerful stories from his own life, Javier reminds audiences that their personal power to change their lives and change the world around them starts with the choices they make From This Moment On. Discover why Javier Sanchez and this powerful program have become one of the most sought after experiences for schools, communities, conferences, and conventions all over the world!!

Sign Me Up

Every registered person who completes the program will be entered to win one of 5 $10 Fast Food Gift Cards. Fill out the form below to sign up.


The Central Connection Regional Learning Community is made possible through our collaboration with the Ohio Adult Allies.

The Ohio Adult Allies is a diverse network of adults who are committed to facilitating and advancing the work of youth-led programs. Adult allies work alongside young people and guide them through a planning process to create and implement a strategic plan that uses evidence-based strategies to create community-level change and build healthier communities. In order to accomplish this, adult allies engage young people in a community-based process in which youth:

  1. Determine a problem of practice by examining local and state data on issues concerning Ohio youth

  2. Identify the root causes of their problem of practice

  3. Select and implement evidence-based strategies to address those root causes

By engaging in this process, young people develop a critical awareness of their social environment and build the skills needed to be creative and active problem-solvers. Young people involved in youth-led programs contribute as active members of their communities who seek to affect community-level change and build 21st Century skills including critical and creative thinking, flexibility, and leadership.

To learn more about the Ohio Adult Allies please visit: https://www.ohioadultallies.com/


Funding provided by Prevention Action Alliance with grants made possible through Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services.