At FYI we care about partnering with community members and organizations for a larger collective impact around youth and family health. One of the main avenues for that participation is the Chaffee County Youth Alliance (CCYA), a community-based coalition focused on youth health and well-being. CCYA, which began in 2017, follows the Communities That Care coalition model for systemic change by identifying community risk and protective factors for youth health and then implementing evidence-based strategies.
Building a Caring and Knowledgeable Coalition
While the focus of the CCYA coalition is on overall youth health and problem behaviors, the coalition has identified youth substance misuse as a particular area of focus. As a rural town with significant tourist-based economic influence, Chaffee County mirrors other “rural resort” communities with high levels of youth substance misuse. High availability of substances, permissive cultural and parental attitudes toward youth substance use, and statistically higher early initiation of substance use (before age 11), have been areas of focus as the coalition has implemented evidence-based programs and initiatives to address these areas of youth health.
Eligibility And Details
Anyone willing to join in the coalition's work can become a coalition member!
What do matches do when they meet?Matches have the ability to determine what they want to do when they meet, and it can vary from week to week. Some examples of match activities include; hiking, biking, cooking, baking, arts and crafts, fishing, stand up paddle boarding, rock climbing, reading, watching movies, gardening, reading, lawn games, etc. You get the idea; the sky is the limit!
How often do matches meet?Matches are encouraged to meet once a week for two to three hours on average.
How are Chaffee County Mentors funded?Prevention work is important to our local government too, which therefore supports our program. Many of the dollars for program operations come from grants and community donations.
What if I’m a mentor and am going to be gone for a couple of weeks?For prolonged time away, program staff can jump in and spend time with your mentee-remember, we like to think young people are fun to hang out with too! Also, thanks to technology, even when you are away for an extended time, you can still maintain contact.
How can I refer a teen to take one of the secondary prevention classes?Contact James Fenwick at email@example.com
How does a teen join the youth council in Salida or BV?Simply come to one of the standing meetings 1x week at the Salida or Buena Vista High School - always accepting new members. Contact: Dibby Olson, firstname.lastname@example.org
How often does Youth In Action meet?Once a week during the school year, Mondays in BV and Tuesdays in Salida
How is YIA funded?Prevention work is important to our local government too, which therefore supports our program. Many of the dollars for program operations come from grants and community donations.
What does the program consist of?The program is voluntary, but it requires your agreement to actively participate by establishing goals and working to achieve those goals. The case manager will assist by supporting your efforts and meeting on a regular basis to encourage and connect you with the resources you need to be successful.
Can my family participate without a referral?No. Referrals are submitted to the program through Chaffee County Child Protection Services or other community organizations.
Highlights From The Coalition
The Extraordinary Teen Council worked with the local mental health agency Solvista Health to create the “teen wellness voucher,” intended to reduce barriers for teens to access mental health care by providing them with two free counseling sessions. The ETC “teen wellness voucher” initiative served as the model for recent statewide legislation providing access for youth to mental health counseling.
Botvin Life Skills training, an evidence-based prevention curriculum, was introduced in 2018 and successfully integrated into every middle school and high school in the county by 2022.
The Listen Longer media campaign has been running frequent promotional radio ads on local stations. The internally-generated ads have won multiple awards, including “Best Public Service Announcement” for small market radio in Colorado in 2022.
In 2022, two paid youth advisors were hired to the Family and Youth Initiatives team to facilitate the teen councils and provide youth voice and perspective.
In 2023 the coalition served a vital role in connecting community partners to implement an initiative where certain youth criminal cases, including all youth receiving MIPs for substance use, are diverted into a restorative justice process through the organization Full Circle Restorative Justice.
Youth reported that in the CCYA coalition they feel heard, and that it allows them to have an impact in their community. In additional to planning more than eight prosocial events per year, youth in the teen councils have also presented multiple times to city council in both Salida and Buena Vista. There is now a youth from the Extraordinary Teen Council in a liaison role to the Salida City Council.
Join a Community-Based Prevention Program
Our coalition meets every other month, on the third Wednesday morning from 8:30-10:00am. We also have multiple workgroups focused on particular programs and topics that meet monthly, and are spearheading different initiatives.
As a community-driven organization, our programs meet those we serve where they're at for a widespread, positive change.