Grand Futures: Exciting new opportunities for young people in 2021
If you are a Gen X or millennial parent, you might remember what youth substance-use prevention looked like in the 1980s and 1990s. Established in 1990 under Colorado’s 14th Judicial District, Grand Futures Community Partnership, later renamed Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, was born in the era of D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and Just Say No campaigns.
In 30 years, we’ve learned a lot. The risks that lead to lifelong problems with substances (including alcohol and tobacco) can include many layers of societal, family and individual factors. Laws, academics and parent attitudes all impact use — more than can be fixed with a catchy phrase repeated in health class. We’ve also learned there are a variety of protective factors that can offset risks. One of those protective factors is the opportunity for teens and young adults to participate meaningfully in their communities.
You might already believe that young people are our future; Grand Futures Prevention Coalition also believes in equipping our youth with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to have a voice now.
Our mission is to prevent substance use and abuse among teens and young adults, and our programs go beyond a focus on the risks of substances themselves. We believe when youth feel engaged in addressing a variety of community challenges, the appeal of substances grows weaker. Grand Futures Prevention Coalition is opening two opportunities for Routt County teens to get involved in their communities in 2021.
The first is a volunteer leadership opportunity to join Routt County Teen Council. As a long-standing group under the city of Steamboat Springs, Grand Futures will be leading facilitation this year in partnership with Routt County Communities That Care. In the past, Teen Council has succeeded in planning social events and advocating for the city’s plastic bag ban in 2019. Applications are now open to students in eighth to 12th grade who are interested in gaining knowledge and skills for social activism and community change. Students can apply with a simple form found at grandfutures.org.
The second opportunity is a paid internship for high school or college students ages 16 to 21. The position was created by the Routt County Communities That Care initiative to help strengthen opportunities for pro-social involvement and to share leadership of prevention activities with those in our target audience — the young people themselves. We are looking to hire six to eight young people to work 10 to 15 hours per month on teams to address risk and protective factors in our county. Interested applicants should send an email of interest to CTC Mobilizer Judy Komaromi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the reliance on virtual meeting spaces growing, Grand Futures is inviting applicants from all over the county. We especially invite students who are passionate about social justice, environmental issues, sustainability, diversity, inclusion and equity to apply. Our coalition is working hard to recruit a pool of diverse, enthusiastic applicants for both opportunities. If there is a young person in your life looking to make a difference, send them our way.
Amber Delay is the executive director for Grand Futures Prevention Coalition.
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