Dance moves and secret handshakes were just some of the fun-filled, ice breaking activities that kicked off the first annual Friday Night Live (FNL) Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Conference at the Orton Center at the University of Redlands.

Local FNL chapters gathered to learn the core principles of SEL, which fosters social and emotional skillsets to help students understand emotions and demonstrate empathy for other youth.

FNL is a San Bernardino County Department of Public Health youth-led substance use prevention program focused on developing leadership across elementary, middle and high school aged youth. FNL supports the development of life skills in youth by working to build partnerships in the community and schools. 

FNL SEL lectures were hosted by workshop facilitators such as Ahmed Toure, speaker and trainer at Leading to Change, and other passionate educators who seek to drive leadership in youth.

Toure’s energetic and inclusive leadership style evoked social growth by transforming shy, isolated students into highly engaged, confident learners that participated in every activity and discussion that Toure and other facilitators had to offer.

“It is my job to make Social Emotional Learning digestible for the participants,” said Toure. “It can be a heavy topic and so I wanted to make it fun, make it light, make it memorable, but also make sure that it was effective, and it really reached the students that were here today.”

Activities of support, self-care and critical communication skills were some of the workshop’s themes that students participated in. Each workshop implemented the SEL 5 Core Competencies, which include:

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Responsible Decision-Making
  • Relationship Skills
  • Social Awareness

“Students are gaining a lot of new experiences that can equip them with functional skills for their life,” said Joshua Dugas, director of San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. “Our goal is for them to emerge better prepared to navigate the world and excel in their future educational and career endeavors.”

Looking to start an FNL chapter at your school? For more information on FNL events and advocacy campaigns, please visit or call 800-782-4264.

Additional County Update News – March 28, 2024

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