Kids Connection

by Liz Sielatycki

Family & Youth Initiatives

Family & Youth Initiatives and the Chaffee County Youth Alliance are expanding their school partnerships this year to include Buena Vista High School and will continue working with Salida Middle School.

Evidence-based universal substance-use prevention curricula will now be provided by both districts in the county.

All ninth-grade students at BVHS will take a six-week class called Project Towards No Drugs (TND). Project TND is an interactive school substance-use prevention curriculum based on more than two decades of successful research. Some topics covered include motivational activities to not use drugs and alcohol, skill building in self-control, communication and decision making.

We will also continue a great partnership with Salida Middle School as their substance-use prevention efforts reach both sixth- and seventh-grade students this year. The curriculum they implemented, called LifeSkills Training, is also a rigorously evaluated substance-use prevention curriculum for middle school students. The class will be taught by SMS school staff and FYI staff.

For questions about Project TND or LifeSkills Training, feel free to contact Dibby Olson, youth program coordinator with FYI, at 719-530-2577.

FYI is the prevention division within the Department of Human Services, focused on providing evidence-based prevention resources in Chaffee County. The Chaffee County Youth Alliance, within FYI, is our local coalition working to prevent youth substance use by addressing risk and protective factors.

This effort is part of a statewide initiative called Communities That Care (CTC), funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Our coalition identified three priority areas to address in Chaffee County based on Healthy Kids Colorado Survey data: reduce the accessibility of substances, prevent early initiation of substance use and strengthen parent skills to discuss substance use.

We are beginning implementation of evidence-based strategies to address these risk factors. This exciting partnership with both BVHS and SMS moves forward our strategy to address early initiation of use by building support for the implementation of evidence-based school substance-use prevention curricula. We look forward to expanding our partnerships.

We’re also looking for SHS and BVHS students to join our efforts to make sure Chaffee County is a positive, healthy place for teens. Contact Liz Sielatycki, CTC facilitator, at 719-395-0344, extension 107, with any questions about the Chaffee County Youth Alliance.

Liz Sielatycki is Communities That Care facilitator at Chaffee County Family & Youth Initiatives.