The following press release was issued by BMCYF.
Blue Mountain Coalition for Youth and Families received a two-year grant from the Sierra Health Foundation Center to run a two-year program on youth leadership and addiction prevention at their community center in West Point, California.
Elevate Youth California, a Center at Sierra Health Foundation project under contract with the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), awarded $ 5 million to 18 community and tribal organizations across California for substance abuse prevention activities substances in young people. Funded by revenues generated by Proposition 64, which legalized the non-medical use of cannabis by adults in California, the Elevate Youth California: Supporting Capacity Building for Community Organizations funding opportunity supports a combination of programs and activities of capacity building for emerging local organizations.
Award-winning partner projects will provide youth with social justice, peer support and mentorship in low-income communities of color, including tribal and LGBTQ communities. Elevate Youth California’s investment will draw on the operational, programmatic, financial and / or organizational infrastructure of partners to strengthen their capacity to fulfill their mission and have a positive impact on their communities. Partner organizations will work with young people aged 12 to 26 in urban and rural areas of the state. A full list of organizations that have received Cohort Three awards is posted on the Elevate Youth California website.
“The Elevate Youth California program recognizes the need to invest in building the capacity of organizations that work directly with young people in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs,” said Chet P. Hewitt, president and CEO of Sierra Health. Foundation and Center. “This program creates stronger organizations, stronger communities and a stronger area of substance use prevention.
Blue Mountain Coalition for Youth and Families will use this funding to launch a new program for youth ages 12-26 in Calaveras County. The Lead Up program will recruit, train, empower and employ Calaveras County backcountry youth to become mentors and staff at our BMCYF community center and civic leaders in our community. This program will establish a mentoring endowment and ongoing programs to disrupt the trend of unemployment and drug use in our low-income rural community and equip local youth with the skills and support to be part of the solution. Funding from the grant will also support capacity building activities that will help sustain this program in the future.
BMCYF Executive Director Terra Forgette says: “The idea for this program was inspired by a young woman who applied for a position here two years ago. She had come to our center when she was a child and said it was one of the only things that kept her from getting in trouble. More than anything, I wanted to hire her as our new youth coordinator, but she had no skills and no experience. It is our dream to be able to train and hire the children who come through our center, and to see them become our next generation of leaders. This grant could make that a reality for us. I am sure this program could have a huge positive impact on the youth we serve and a long term impact on our community.