FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What Is the Healthy Youth Initiative?
The Healthy Youth Initiative is a program funded by the non-profit Issaquah Schools Foundation. Its mission is to support healthy youth and strong families within the Issaquah School District public schools and the greater school district community.
How did the Healthy Youth Initiative come about?
In 1992, the Washington State legislature established and funded 53 local Community Health and Family Networks authorized to address the impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences. The Networks evolved into very successful grassroots efforts to engage communities in human services oversight and activities, and operated across the state for over twenty years. Following the 2008 national recession, state funding for Networks was reduced annually and finally eliminated in June, 2013. The Issaquah Community Network approached the Issaquah Schools Foundation, one of its long-time community partners, for assistance. Ensuing discussions culminated in a merger agreement signed in May, 2014. The merger between the Issaquah Community Network and the Issaquah Schools Foundation became official on September 1, 2014. A new name -- Healthy Youth Initiative -- also became official on that date.
What issues does the Healthy Youth Initiative focus on?
The Healthy Youth Initiative aims to build the community's capacity to empower youth and families, to reduce negative social and emotional (risky) behaviors, and to network the community in support of healthy youth and strong families. There are four main focuses for these efforts: 1) prevention of youth alcohol and substance abuse; 2) prevention of youth suicide as well as promotion of youth mental health; 3) assistance for students in need of housing, clothing, food and school supplies; 4) research and community assessments to ensure that HYI is addressing appropriate needs within the school district and community.
The Healthy Youth Initiative recognizes that many of the issues confronted by today's youth go well beyond the power of school districts to influence; thus we employ a community-based approach that supports public schools while engaging cities and other governments, health organizations, law enforcement, civic organizations, faith-based organizations, non-profit agencies, parents and youth themselves in positive and transformational change supporting healthy life choices.
How does the Healthy Youth Initiative conduct its work?
The Healthy Youth Initiative conducts its work through four major components -- a Drug Free Community Coalition and three sub-committees. In addition, the Healthy Youth Initiative Forum sponsors events that support all members and component parts of HYI.
Influence The Choice - Drug Prevention Alliance for Youth, the community's substance abuse prevention coalition, is dedicated to preventing youth alcohol, marijuana and prescription drug abuse. ITC is funded by a five-year grant from the federal Office of Drug Control Policy and administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA). The grant is worth $125,000 per year through 2018 and renewable through 2023. Pat Castillo is the Project Coordinator for the Coalition.
B.E.S.T. (Building Emotional Strength Together) is dedicated to preventing youth suicide by developing a positive understanding of mental resilience. Members of this committee work to reduce the stigma of youth mental illness and increase awareness of the impacts of depression, anxiety, stress, bullying and harassment on today's youth.
Basic Student Needs is dedicated to serving students in need of food, clothing, housing and school supplies. Members of this committee work with community-based organizations, such as the Issaquah Food and Clothing Bank or the Issaquah School District Nurses Association, to identify and network resources for our community's most vulnerable young members.
Community Assessments is dedicated to ensuring that Healthy Youth Initiative activities are grounded in scientific research and recent data. This committee promotes the Healthy Youth Survey, administered to Washington State 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th graders in even-numbered years, a Community Resources and Needs Assessment that identifies emerging trends, and understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences research.
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