Communities that Care looks to leave lasting impact on Moffat County youths | CraigDailyPress.com
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Communities that Care looks to leave lasting impact on Moffat County youths

Communities that Care offers a way for members of the community to work together to prevent youth problem behaviors including substance use, delinquency, teen pregnancy, violence and dropping our of school.
Communities that Care/courtesy

In hopes of creating a safe, supportive space for local youth, Communities that Care is expanding its reach within Moffat County.

Megan Smith, CTC’s local facilitator for Moffat County, said that CTC is currently in Phase 5 of a 5-phase plan in Moffat County, allowing them to implement and evaluate their plans that were put in place in recent years.

In 2018, CTC relayed its findings to the public regarding behavoiral issues for local youth. An in-depth analysis of data by Communities that Care, which is a collaborative, community-driven process that aims to strengthen and supplement existing prevention work to reduce alcohol and substance use, violence, and delinquency in youth, suggested that area youth struggle with depression, anxiety, and making healthy choices.

In that report, then-facilitator Amanda Ott said, “Moffat County students have a higher than the national average for depression, anxiety, substance abuse and lack of commitment to school, which the CTC Community Board have chosen as risk factors of focus for the next phase of work.”

CTC is a program that is administered by Northwest Colorado Health in Craig and funded through the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment using marijuana tax education fund dollars.

Currently in Phase 5, according to Smith, CTC is looking to create community safe spaces for youth, as well as starting up a local youth coalition at CNCC. The group has also focused on instituting new programs to help address depression and anxiety felt by youth in Moffat County.

“We’ve partnered with some great organizations in Moffat County, and we want to see this program grow so that our youths can thrive here,” Smith said. Smith added that CTC continues to give presentations to local youths in hopes of getting the youth coalition off the ground in late February.

For CTC, showing commitment to youth and providing training and research-based tools to help has proven to make an impact in communities across the country.

According to the organization, which is based at the University of Washington, CTC youth were 33 percent less likely to start smoking cigarettes, 32 percent less likely to start drinking, and 24 percent less likely to start engaging in delinquency, thanks to the training and teachings to help youth make healthy, positive choices.

Additionally, CTC has shown to have an economic benefit as well. For every dollar invested in CTC, $5.30 is returned in lower criminal justice and health care costs, according to the University of Washington’s Communities that Care Center.

The local chapter for CTC meets the first Wednesday of every month from 1-3 p.m. For more information, contact Megan Smith at 970-870-4101, or email her at msmith@northwestcoloradohealth.org.


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