One of the pillars of Partners’ refreshed mission is Prevention Education, and we have been expanding the stand-alone Prevention Education Programs since we began them in 2019. We are excited to share a full recap of this work in 2021. Prevention education, alongside other prevention strategies, can reduce the impact of mental and substance use disorders in our communities. Our approach focuses on helping people develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to make responsible and healthy decisions. Prevention is a critical to our communities’ behavioral and physical health.
2021 was a year of uncertainty as we continued operating under a pandemic, but we were dedicated to keeping our programs running. In our prevention education program, we were able to get staff trained and certified, hire and onboard a youth advisor, and provide prevention education programming for over 300 youth and families.
At the end of April 2021, Katherine Chu, our Prevention Education Program Manager earned her Colorado Certified Prevention Specialist designation. This certification is administered and awarded by the Colorado Prevention Certification Committee and the International Certification & Reciprocity Consortium. This certification improves the way prevention is done in our communities, helps ensure ethical and relevant prevention programs are used, and promotes opportunities for skill and career development. We are excited for our staff to have achieved this goal and are looking forward to additional staff earning their Certified Prevention Specialist designations in coming years. In addition, our prevention education program was able to train three interns and one additional full time staff in implementing the BrainWise curriculum.
Partners utilizes a Positive Youth Development model and has been working to move further on the Colorado Youth Engagement Continuum (link). We were so excited to secure funding to hire a Youth Advisor Intern. Our intern had been in our mentoring program since 2018 and was so excited to give back to Partners in a different capacity. They interned at Partners for six months, from July through December 2021. Their projects spanned from assisting and implementing monthly activities to creating plans for Partners’ first Youth Advisory Council. Partners is so appreciative of all of our Youth Advisor Intern’s work and are excited to continue our partnership and shared leadership with youth in our community.
Throughout the year, we were able to implement BrainWise, an evidence-based social and emotional learning program for teaching critical thinking and decision-making skills, to serve over 100 youth. In addition to teaching youth these critical skills, we were able to share substance use prevention information via one-time presentations to over 100 youth and 130 parents/caregivers.
We are looking forward to continuing to build relationships with schools and community organizations to provide prevention education programming to more youth. We are also looking forward to starting our very first Youth Advisory Council in 2022.
If you have any questions or would like to connect with Katherine about our Prevention work, please reach out through email!