Marijuana dollars fund Eagle County Communities that Care youth health report | VailDaily.com

Marijuana dollars fund Eagle County Communities that Care youth health report

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Eight of the 36 Communities that Care leaders, community board members and youth advisors celebrated the one-year anniversary of Eagle County Communities that Care and the completion of a local youth community assessment report on Monday, Sept. 25, at Café Milano. From row, from left, are Claire Krueger, Rosa Vega, County Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney, Britney Chavez, Mary Cotton and Kenneth Howell. Back row, from left, are Heather O’Malley, James Wilkins and Gloria Cueva.

EDWARDS — A recent community assessment report, based on the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey and other local health data, identified two priority health and problem behaviors for Eagle County youth — mental health and substance use, particularly alcohol use.

Eagle County Communities that Care compiled the report as part of the youth prevention work it's doing through a state grant funded with marijuana tax dollars.

"The community assessment helped identify priorities that we can address to ensure that our youth are raised in a community that values them and protects them," said Molly Hadley, Eagle County Communities that Care coordinator.

"Eagle County already has many protective factors, which are positive things in kids' lives that help them thrive. Locally, CTC will implement strategies to enhance these protective factors, while reducing risks — common challenges facing our youth."

Communities that Care key leaders and board members across Eagle County have been laying the foundation since January for the implementation of environmental strategies. These strategies will be designed around the identified priority areas, creating an impact on local youth and the community at large.

"The most amazing thing about (Communities that Care) is that the research proves that it works," said Michelle Stecher, Eagle River Youth Coalition executive director. "By putting in place strategies that increase protective factors and decrease risk factors for youth, it has been proven that the entire community will benefit."

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In 2009, the Community Youth Development Study presented Communities that Care research that followed youth from fifth through eighth grades. It showed that youth in communities using Communities that Care are 25 percent to 33 percent less likely to use substances, and less likely to display violent and delinquent behaviors.

The Eagle River Youth Coalition, in collaboration with the Eagle County Public Health Department, provides oversight and support to Eagle County Communities that Care.

"(Communities that Care) in Colorado is off to a great start in year two, with the ultimate goal to prevent substance use and promote positive mental health for youth, community members and families in Eagle County," said Erin Flynn, Communities that Care work lead at the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. "Eagle County (Communities that Care) is working to influence and change community-level policies and practices that impact the risk factors for substance use in order to make Eagle County healthier and safer for generations to come."