The goal of Wyoming Youth Coalitions is to build a statewide peer-to-peer youth movement dedicated to impacting their schools and communities through the prevention of substance abuse, impaired driving, and mental health and personal safety issues. Guided by a local adult advisor, youth will develop skills to address these issues and take action in their communities to address them. This coalition allows students to learn how to create change in their communities through hands on activism and advocacy. The students will have the opportunity to create a culture where healthy behaviors are the social norm.

Setting the Foundation:

  • The first step in accomplishing this goal is to secure an adult advisor for the group – typically an interested teacher, counselor, or staff member.
  • Adult advisors will receive additional training in substance abuse prevention and healthy behavior promotion, as well as the skills necessary to facilitate a youth coalition.
  • The advisor will be responsible for recruiting 10-15 students. This can be done through public recruitment, letters home, recommendations from teachers, counselors, school resource officers, or in whatever approach best fits the individual needs of each school. Any interested student who wishes to volunteer shall have the opportunity to do so.
  • Groups will meet weekly for one-hour, depending on student/advisor schedules.

Get Started on Prevention:

  • Assisted by the WASCOP Prevention Coordinator, adult advisors will be encouraged to access and collect data using resources like the Prevention Needs Assessment website or the Wyoming Association of Sheriff’s and Chiefs of Police. A key strategy will involve inviting community members to present information on data resources in the local community and how it can help youth develop data-driven prevention strategies.
  • The adult advisor will empower youth to become more aware about the needs in the school and/or the community to help them identify issues local youth are facing.
  • Youth will be guided in developing a strategy defining, Where Do We Want To Be? – What are the goals, what do we want to change?
  • Vision – youth will create a vision for the school and/or the community.
  • Strategies – Youth will identify strategies to have an immediate impact, as well as creating long-lasting change.

Starting a Youth Coalition

  • Define the problem and collect data
  • Identify/Recruit Students
  • Hold weekly meetings
  • Share perspectives
  • Discuss current reality as well as the ideal
  • Create a vision for the school and community
  • Determine next steps
  • Semester plan/timeline

“Coalition”

The noun coalition comes from the Latin word, “coalitiō,” meaning, “to grow together”

Topics to be addressed by Wyoming Youth Prevention Coalitions:

Traffic Safety:

Seat Belt Safety

Texting and Driving

Driving with friends in the car

Drinking and Driving

Laws/Data

Alcohol:

Underage Drinking

Social Host Ordinance – Parents providing alcohol to minors/parties

Education to parents around where alcohol is obtained

Businesses providing alcohol to minors – drive up windows, happy hours, etc.

Laws/Data

Tobacco/Vaping/E-Cigarettes

Education on the harms

Cessation for current users

How tobacco / e-cigarettes are marketed at youth

Laws/Data

Drugs:

  1. Marijuana
    1. Education around how marijuana has changed and what the harms are
    2. Policy Awareness and protection/change
    3. How marijuana is marketed at youth
    4. Laws/Data
  1. Prescription Drugs
    1. Education around the harms of prescription opioids
    2. Storage / Safety locks
    3. Prescription Take Back Events
    4. Education on not sharing prescription drugs
    5. Laws/Data
  1. Methamphetamine, Heroin, Cocaine, Others
    1. Education around the harms of these drugs

Wellness/Mental Health/Suicide Prevention

  1. Be kind, anti-bullying efforts
  2. Self-care, physically and mentally
  3. Suicide prevention hotline, how to support a friend, etc.

Wyoming Youth Summit

Wyoming Youth Coalitions will be invited to participate in the Wyoming Youth Summit that will draw 7th to 12th graders from across the state for youth-driven workshops and outdoor activities designed to empower them to form a statewide peer-to-peer network committed to making positive change in their communities.

The Wyoming Youth Summit will offer interactive training sessions led by youth and noted experts who will train youth on personal and professional prevention development skills. There will also be outdoor activities to allow youth to experience the beauty of our great state and build teamwork and friendships with their peers. The summit also offers the opportunity for youth to meet state leaders and experts in traffic safety, substance abuse prevention, and mental health awareness who will offer training and resources and empower youth to share that information through their peer-to-peer networks.

#WYAMPLIFY

Wyoming Youth Coalitions are encouraged to participate in the #WYAMPLIFY Campaign by creating videos, music, photos, posters, billboards, radio spots, and other communications that will be broadcast across the state through an innovative partnership with the Casper Star Tribune and Trib.com.

Wyoming Youth Prevention Coalitions Sample Outline

Ongoing efforts should include recruitment, education/relationship building and looking for potential capacity building/fundraising opportunities.

September:

  1. National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month / World Suicide Prevention Day

October:

  1. National Red Ribbon Week
  2. Prescription Drug Take Back Event
  3. Make A Difference Day
  4. Mental Illness Awareness Week
  5. National Bullying Prevention Month
  6. National Depression Screening Day

November:

  1. Great American Smoke Out

December:

  1. Prevention Month: Mental Health and How to Keep Safe
  2. Kindness, Caring, Mental Health – Reach out to peers however they want
  3. Self Care

January:

  1. National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week
  2. Martin Luther King Day / Diversity and Inclusion
  3. No Name Calling Week

February:

  1. Community Awareness

March:

  1. Brain Awareness Week
  2. Kick Butts Day

April:

  1. Alcohol Awareness Month
  2. National Alcohol Screening Day
  3. National Stress Awareness Month
  4. National Volunteer Week

May:

  1. Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week
  2. National Prevention Week
  3. Mental Health Awareness Month
  4. Clean Air Month
  5. World No Tobacco Day

Resources:

National:

  1. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) www.samhsa.gov
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse – www.drugabuse.gov / teen.drugabuse.gov
  3. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America – www.cadca.org
  4. Partnership for Drug-Free Kids – www.drugfree.org
  5. SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) – www.sadd.org
  6. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids – www.tobaccofreekids.org
  7. Truth Initiative – www.truthinitiative.org
  8. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
  9. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – www.afsp.org
  10. Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area – www.rmhidta.org

State:

  1. WASCOP (Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police) – www.wascop.com / www.thereisnodebate.org /www.wyomingyouthsummit.org
  2. WYSAC (Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center) – wysac.uwyo.edu
  3. Wyoming Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving – www.wygcid.org
  4. Wyoming Department of Health – www.health.wyo.gov
  5. Wyoming Department of Transportation -- www.dot.state.wy.us
  6. Wyoming SADD – www.sadd.org/who-we-are/state-coordinators/