Monroe Youth Coalition Wins Healthy Communities Award
The Monroe High School Youth Coalition was selected as a 2015 Healthy Communities Award recipient for its commitment to addressing substance abuse and mental health issues. The youth coalition is a subcommittee of the Monroe Community Coalition, a volunteer nonprofit prevention coalition dedicated to the health and wellness of the Monroe community.
The student-led youth coalition was founded during the 2014–15 school year and features a robust membership. The group meets on a weekly basis to explore different strategies that can be deployed at the school to help students succeed.
Last year the group decided to zero in on suicide prevention and mental health awareness, creating a video called “You Are Not Alone” that encourages struggling youth to seek help from either a friend or a trusted adult.
“According to Washington state’s Healthy Youth Survey data, teens who can’t name a person that can help them in their school tend to fare worse across virtually all behavior areas,” Rasmussen said.
The video was launched last September during Suicide Prevention Week and has been shared at the school, across social media and is featured between films at Galaxy Theater in Monroe.
Recently, youth coalition members were trained in a peer-led, suicide prevention program called Sources of Strength, which dovetailed in with the coalition’s ongoing prevention efforts. The training encouraged students to be peer leaders, connectors to help and agents of change in the school.
Monroe School District Prevention Specialist and Coalition Coordinator Joe Neigel represented the coalition at the awards ceremony, along with Monroe Youth Coalition members Maddie Marsee, Ciara De la Cuesta and Phoenix and Zuzu Hamel. Zuzu, one of the coalition’s founding members, enjoys the inclusiveness of the coalition, which has fully embraced the “You Are Not Alone” concept through different tactics implemented on campus.
“I love how people of different ages and backgrounds can all come together and work together. We all want to make a difference and are very passionate about suicide prevention and drug and alcohol abuse,” Zuzu said. “It’s super cool to see how our club is creating a difference in our community.”
(This story is excrepted from an article in the Monroe Monitor written by Chris Hendrickson. Please view it in its entirety by clicking here.)