|Archuleta, Dolores, La Plata, Montezuma, Ouray, San Juan and San Miguel counties||Delta, Montrose, Gunnison and Hinsdale counties|
Archuleta, Delta, Dolores, Gunnison, Hinsdale, La Plata, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, San Juan, San Miguel
Substance Abuse Prevention Skills Training – Cortez – March 13-15, 2018 Register Here.
Voyager Basecamp for Teens
Voyager Youth Program is excited to share our success in engaging youth in our community. Voyager houses a free teen center, funded by the Office of Behavioral Health, that is available to all Ouray County middle and high school students. We provide free food and drinks as well as a variety of games including ping pong, air hockey, outdoor sports, board games, video games and more. We offer community action and leadership opportunities as well as tutoring and homework help. Last school year, we opened our doors and expected the youth to flood in. To our surprise, that wasn’t the case. After spending time chatting with the youth that came to the teen center, we found out a number of reasons why the youth weren’t showing up. Voyager is a 20-year-old organization that has always been a licensed day care and after school program. Many of the older youth associated the name “Voyager” with their childhood. We decided to remedy this by changing the name of the teen center. We gathered a group of youth and had them all choose a name and then vote on one. Our teen center is now called the “Basecamp.” This fall, we will be holding a contest in the schools to design a new logo for the Basecamp. We feel that this gives them more ownership of the teen center and appeals to a larger population of youth. Our numbers have grown substantially since this change. In December, there were 48 youth who attended Basecamp and in March 2017, we recorded 127 youth!
Our next struggle that we overcame was lack of attendance at our special events. The first teen night that we held had very low attendance. It turns out, teens don’t like being called “teens!” We decided to change our strategy and let the youth decide on events and let them do the planning. We held a well-attended BBQ and movie night that the youth really enjoyed and most recently, we threw a back to school party. This was a great opportunity for new students in middle school and high school to meet each other before school started. They played volleyball, corn hole and a series of relay games while enjoying pizza and drinks. We look forward to continuing working with the youth to plan future events to expand the number of youth that we serve.
For more information about Voyager Youth Program, visit www.voyageryouthprogram.org
School Community Youth Collaborative (SCYC) Successes!
SCYC has supported youth engagement for the city Parks & Recreation and Golf Advisory boards for over 3 years. Adults from the board and community youth who have served on their boards have both participated in Youth Adult Partnership trainings provided by SCYC. SCYC staff check in regularly with youth board members and adults throughout the service to maintain balance and support of the relationships. This past year an alumni golf advisory board youth member was able to secure a job with the Utah Section PGA where she helps with the golf tournaments they run, mostly overseeing the junior events with her four coworkers, and helps with the Utah Open pro event. This is her first job and she is only 17 years old. “[My] experience on the [Cortez City Golf Advisory] board gave me some of the training I needed to work in the golf industry. My employers were also very impressed by the fact that I had served on a City Board and was able to have that responsibility entrusted to me. The opportunity to serve on the [Golf Advisory] board was a key factor in me obtaining my current employment.” ~Kiselya, age 17
While SCYC has engaged youth on its board for almost four years now the youth have played a ‘normal’ board of director’s role, supporting with fundraising events, program evaluation & implementation and program feedback. These are vital and important contributions to the SCYC team as the youth perspective helps guide the board to make decisions that are truly in the best interest of youth in our community. This year, however, the youth role has gone to a new level. After one of SCYC’s current co-presidents needed to step down in order to take on a new job, the youth board member was nominated and accepted the position as co-president along with a very supportive adult. This relationship has been going on for one year and it seems to be flourishing. The youth co-president role is to create the agenda and generally run the meeting, check in with board members for meeting reminders and agenda items, and to follow up meetings with minutes. This experience for this youth will support her as she graduates, continues her journey in college and moves into the world of family law.
On Feb 21st, Youth Leadership Council presented to 7th & 8th grade youth at Dolores Middle school about youth substance abuse prevention. Through a slideshow presentation and interactive activities, the two YLC students shared knowledge and information around the most often used drugs among youth in our region, Heroin & Cocaine. They also discussed the dangers of a new synthetic drug called “Pink” that’s becoming popular among youth nationwide. As a part of the presentation around impact of substance abuse the group invited the mother of a Dolores student who lost her son to an overdose of heroin. She shared her experience and addressed the image of being “cool” and the reality of what that “cool” can end up looking like, as well as discussing the impact of her son’s substance abuse on her family and his friends. Students and administrators were deeply affected by the stories told, so much so that the assembly ran over and administrators allowed the overage due to its healing effects.
For more information, check out SCYC’s website http://scyclistens.org/
Delta Montrose Youth Services, Inc, (Partners of Delta Montrose & Ouray) Success Story:
Sam* was referred to Partners Program in January of 2016 by a concerned teacher at school for fighting, acting out and being aggressively destructive at home with his mother and at school. There was also some concern of neglect, his father has been absent in his life for over 3 years. Sam was matched with a mature male adult volunteer with clear expectations and boundaries. They spend time on weekends 4-wheeling at the mentor’s cabin up on Grand Mesa. The mentor also inserted himself into Sam’s school life by attending parent-teacher conferences and going to school once a week to work on reading with his mentee. The consistency and compassion offered to Sam by his mentor has led to better reports from the school and his mother praises the mentor for allowing Sam to be a playful and happy boy again. Although there is still work to do, Sam and his mentor enjoyed a plane ride on a warm September day. The pilot is also a mentor in our organization and another partnership joined them to experience flying. They flew out of Montrose Airport heading north to Cedaredge to look for their homes. It was an eye-opening experience for both boys. Just another tribute to the power of mentoring.
*Name has been changed.
Delta Montrose Youth Services Inc. provides direct services for 170 children and conducts outreach to thousands of others in the current programming. Partners has always felt that strong mentoring relationships can help youth mitigate situations of risk. These high-quality mentoring relationships give young people the confidence, resources, and support they need to achieve their potential. For more information on Delta Montrose Youth Services, Inc. please contact Elizabeth Shepherd, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gunnison Valley Mentors Success Story:
Meet Tommy. Tommy is a real middle-schooler matched with a mentor but Tommy is not his real name. Tommy was referred for a mentor by his school guidance counselor. With a parent in jail, his school performance had declined. Tommy lashed out at peers, teachers and family, and often had to be removed from the classroom. Concern grew from family and school that Tommy was on track to harm himself or someone else. Tommy was matched with a mentor, Peter, who he began to trust and confide in. With Peter ’s gentle guidance, encouragement and advocacy, Tommy has learned to identify the source of his outbursts. Peter led Tommy to set goals toward self-control, self-awareness and getting along in group settings. Within one month, Tommy’s grades began to improve. He has gradually become more engaged in school and boosted peer and family relations. His connection with Peter has led him to grow from a state of despair to a state of hope – that we has a future to look forward to, and he has some control over it with his own decisions and actions.
Gunnison Valley Mentors serves youth ages 6 to 17 in Gunnison, Crested Butte and Lake City who are challenged with adverse personal, family or school experiences.
For more information on Gunnison Valley Mentors, check out their website, www.gunnisonmentors.com.