Grand Futures Prevention Coalition seeks passionate teens, young adults for social justice youth coalition | CraigDailyPress.com

Grand Futures Prevention Coalition seeks passionate teens, young adults for social justice youth coalition

Jill M. Hunstad/For Craig Press

Grand Futures Prevention Coalition was selected by the Colorado School of Public Health, Center for Public Health Practice, as one of 20 youth-serving organizations and schools across the state that will host youth coalitions as part of the Statewide Social Justice Youth Tobacco Control Movement. The local youth coalition, based in Craig, is currently recruiting local youth ages 12 to 24 who want to effect change in Moffat County.

Social justice is applied to this youth movement in three main ways. First, youth examine individual experiences with and institutional causes of power, privilege, and oppression. Next, youth learn the ways in which tobacco and nicotine are social justice issues. Finally, youth take a social justice approach to tobacco by investigating root causes and contesting unjust policies that have contributed to the inequitable burden of tobacco and nicotine use, addiction, disease, and mortality.

"This is an incredible learning opportunity for local youth to be very hands-on and have their voices heard," said Jill Hunstad, Moffat County Youth Development Coordinator for Grand Futures. "By participating in the program, students will be taking action locally as part of a statewide, youth-driven movement. It's a chance to become part of a diverse group of youth leaders who understand tobacco is a social justice issue."

Each coalition is made up of six to 12 youth ages 12 to 24 who meet at least monthly. These leaders will take action to contest the unjust policies and systems that have contributed to youth tobacco use and addiction. Participating youth will learn how to identify an issue, brainstorm solutions, engage partners, mobilize the community, and enact change. The movement is committed to empowering youth to find their voices and realize their abilities to create change. In addition to skill building opportunities, youth will be compensated based on their level of involvement.

"Partnering with this movement dovetails perfectly with Grand Futures approach to substance abuse prevention," said Lindsey Simbeye, executive director for Grand Futures. "Prevention is not about telling people 'no.' It's about empowering young people, through skill-building programs, to advocate for themselves, their friends, and family members, so together, we can effect change throughout the community."

For more information and to learn how you can become part of the youth social justice group in Craig, contact Hunstad at 970-824-5752 or moffatcounty@grandfutures.org.

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Jill M. Hunstad  is youth development coordinator for Moffat County