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COVID-19 did not stop COY’S prevention work

  • Sun Dec 27th, 2020 1:30am
  • Life

Submitted by Coalition for Orcas Youth

Despite a challenging year, the Coalition for Orcas Youth celebrates its members’ contributions to implementing prevention programming over the past year. The combined efforts of the group are reflected in the t26 hours dedicated by 34 members to help serve COY’s mission; which is cultivating connections to mobilize our community for positive change. Successes included digital/online campaigns, parenting workshops, youth engagement programs and community capacity building.

The Peer 2 Peer program, a leadership training for High School Students, facilitated by regional prevention partners was held in February. The course covered media literacy and presentation skills. The training was HIGHLY interactive and activities-based. Six high school students attended this full day of training. Of those 6 young women, 4 are still members of NextGeneration, a club at the OHS. They all have stepped up to leadership roles.

With the pandemic limiting in-person programs COY facilitated 3 online campaigns:

• You Can – The goal of the You Can campaign is to increase awareness about the health effects and consequences of marijuana and reduce marijuana use by youth in Washington State.

• Resiliency -The goals of the Resiliency campaign were to promote connection, create a social norm around mask-wearing, and to promote the positive by providing coping strategies to our community.

• Starts with One – This campaign is designed to inform and educate young adults, their parents, and older adults about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and the importance of safe storage, use, and disposal. In addition to collecting over 266 pounds of medication in our island’s two lockboxes, COY also distributed 100 personal use locking medication bags to community members.

Parenting Workshops were held via zoom utilizing Parenting Wisely, Guiding Good Choices and Guiando Buenas Decisiones.

• Parenting Wisely was quickly found to replace Strengthening Families as it was translated to an online platform. There were two sessions facilitated in our community, 8 families total participated.

• Guiding Good Choices and Guiando Buenas Decisiones — This program is for families with children ages 9-14 years old. The curriculum was designed by the University of Washington and utilizes the social development strategy, to help parents create opportunities for bonding and promote clear standards for behavior, in order to reduce drug use and promote mental health. One Spanish-speaking 7-week series, with five families participating, took place in November and another English language series is scheduled for February.

The Coalition for Orcas Youth aims to support our Orcas youth to live up to their full human potential. We do this by strengthening community collaboration, reducing youth substance use, and reducing anxiety and depression. COY’s goal is to prevent problems before they start by focusing upstream. COY is committed to empowering youth with skills and resources to become compassionate, healthy adults.

A dedicated group of members from all sectors of our community meets the second Tuesday of every month (via zoom). Prevention work in the coming year will be focused to reduce youth substance use, anxiety and depression, and to change community norms and perceptions around substance use. If you are interested in joining us in 2021 please contact Alison Sanders or Sarah Nichols