Under new leadership in Moffat County, Grand Futures plans for youth-oriented programs
With a new director for its Moffat County office, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition looks to keep teens engaged on the importance of healthy behaviors.
Rebekah Greenwood was first hired near the end of 2019 to fulfill the role of youth development coordinator in Moffat County for Grand Futures, which also serves Routt and Grand counties.
The organization provides multiple programs for kids in Northwest Colorado to learn how to avoid substance abuse.
“We take a three-pronged approach focusing on youth development, education for trusted adults and community engagement,” the Grand Futures website states. “Through positive youth development we aim to empower young people to make healthy, positive, substance-free choices.”
Greenwood was at Moffat County High School this week to promote UpRISE — the acronym for which is Resist, Inform, Step Up, Empower — a state-wide program aimed at educating teenagers about tobacco use.
Greenwood set up a giant Jenga tower for the project, with blocks featuring topics applicable to the tobacco discussion.
“You pull a block, and then you answer a fact or fiction question about the topic. There was ones about tobacco policy, tobacco in schools, the tobacco industry and the target marketing they do, things like that,” she said. “It’s a way to bring awareness to the effects of tobacco, and it’s kind of a new approach to have the youth have a voice.”
Students within the MCHS alternative school program YES Opportunity School — Youth Experiencing Success — have been part of the effort, and multiple youth coalitions in Colorado have been put together.
Greenwood said students involved will be making presentations to local agencies on the subject of tobacco usage and prevention.
“They’re pitching to a decision-maker in the community, and they haven’t decided yet who it’ll be. It could be City Council, Parks and Rec Department, or the school board or anything like that,” she said.
Grand Futures has also partnered with Communities That Care to form the Youth Action Council, open to middle school and high school students alike, which first kicked off in late February.
“The idea is to give them a voice and have them be part of the solution in our community, and to develop activism and advocacy skills,” Greenwood said. “The focus will be around substance and alcohol abuse prevention in youth and people in our community, but they can have all kinds of topics. It’s basically up to them what kind of projects and things they do.”
Greenwood added that in addition to developing overall leadership skills, students can learn more about government boards and nonprofit organizations.
“They might want to become a liaison to City Council or another community board, maybe working with the workforce on projects and learning some business skills,” she said.
Another educational tidbit is the effect of mass media on young people and how marketing can be used both positively and negatively.
The goal is to have meetings every second and fourth Friday starting 5:30 p.m. at Colorado Northwestern Community College, however, times and dates may be subject to change.
Another upcoming event Greenwood hopes to host is a presentation called “Start the Conversation” about vaping from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 31 at MCHS.
“It’s about what vaping is, how it affects our children’s brains, and just their lives in general,” she said. “It’s about how to talk and communicate with them without pushing them away or elevating the situation.”
Greenwood also plans to offer dinner and child care during the event.
The move to Grand Futures was a big jump for Greenwood, who most recently was on staff at Craig Chamber of Commerce and also has experience in law enforcement and as a business owner, as well as being a mother of five grown children and grandmother to one.
“It is a big change. I’ve been in business for most of my life, but I’ve also had a heart for youth and wanted to do something to really make an impact on their lives and maybe affect them individually,” she said. “I know I’ve made a difference with businesses and the community in general, but there’s something to be said for really having a chance to change a young person’s life.”
For more information on getting involved with Grand Futures Prevention Coalition’s Moffat County projects, contact Greenwood at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 970-824-5752.
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