By Lyndsie Ferrell
DEL NORTE— The teen program with High Valley Community Center (HVCC) has been busy in the Del Norte community this summer, spreading the word about community involvement, teen awareness and drug prevention. The program has made leaps and bounds within the community, creating posters that have been placed around town to promote drug awareness and prevention, hoping to reach some of the area’s youth with their message.
According to program director Kathryn Trujillo, the teens have been working closely with the Rio Grande Prevention Partners program and have learned some very important life skills. “We will be making t-shirts that state what the teens in the program prefer doing instead of drugs. I think it has really opened their eyes to the possibilities that are out there for them and has made an impact on the community, showing other young adults that they have more options,” said Trujillo.
The program is gearing down for their last week at the center, with summer coming to a close, they plan to continue their community activities right to the very end. “It has been great to work with the Rio Grande Prevention Partners. The organization does wonderful things in our communities and to be a part of that has been very special for us,” said Trujillo.
Rio Grande Prevention Partners (RGPP) is an active community coalition whose members include: community leaders, organizations, schools, law enforcement and youth from Rio Grande County. Their goal is to reduce and prevent childhood and underage drinking, substance abuse and other related issues in the community.
“RGPP utilizes multiple strategies across multiple sectors for a community-wide approach to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors and change the environment which promotes high risk drinking and other drug use. RGPP uses current research, collects data and evaluates annually to reassess results to determine progress and what more can be done to achieve the goal over the long term and focuses on preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among middle and high school students and deterring drinking and driving with special emphasis on educating the young driver.”
“We are instilling the importance of relationships, partnering to reach a common goal and teach that knowledge and awareness is power,” finished Trujillo.
Other projects throughout the summer for the teens included passing out small “pay it forward” notes to strangers, offering bottles of water to passerbys and working with area businesses to build work ethic among the teens.
“The teens helped maintain the flower pots located throughout town and worked with local gardener and community member Suzanne Gosar. It has been a great summer and we hope to continue the program for many years to come,” said Trujillo.