Nonprofit promotes positive social media posts to influence students

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By: Marisa Gottesman
Associate Editor
They may not actually be twins, but Ashleigh Berke and Abby Hamilton are promoting identical messages about substance abuse to local students.
The 24-year-old prevention specialists from the nonprofit Hanley Center Foundation make up TwinzTweet.
The duo uses social media in tandem with their on-site, in-school lectures to help educate youths about different topics they may encounter including drinking, drugs and body image.
The “twins” said they started using Twitter, Instagram and other social media platforms as a way to interact with students once they leave their classrooms.
Through various grants, Palm Beach County schools can sign up to have prevention specialists from the Hanley Center Foundation come and speak to their classrooms at no cost to the school. Berke and Hamilton bring their own materials and speak to the students about drinking, drugs and other topics on a level the kids can relate to.
The twins said it is more than lecturing the students to ‘just say no.’ It’s about educating them about the impacts of things like binge drinking and dispelling rumors.
After attending a conference on social media, the team knew having a social media presence was something they wanted to incorporate into their lessons.
“Kids follow multiple things on social media and they aren’t always positive,” Hamilton said. “We thought if we could get them to follow us we could be that one positive influence.”
The posts are centered on nutritional and wellness topics. Berke said they post trending topics of the day, Throwback Thursday posts and tips.
The specialists mainly speak to middle and high school students and the posts are tailored to the age group they are reaching. They said they find high school students are more active on Twitter and the middle school students tend to use Instagram more.
You can see what tips the twins are promoting by following them on Twitter @TwinzTweet or Instagram @TwinzTweet