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Posted on Mar 26, 2019

Quincy Partnership for Youth ready for action

The Quincy Partnership for Youth general coalition meeting took place on March 14 at the Junior High School Library with 14 participants.
The organization’s mission statement is: “Using prevention strategies, Quincy Partnership for Youth fosters a network that nurtures a healthy, drug-free, and successful community.”
All those principles were discussed at the meeting, with the focus on the strategies to be used in the years ahead. According to Dayana Ruiz, Community Coalition Specialist, “the coalition’s Assessment Team compiled a preliminary recommendation after reviewing extensive data specific to Quincy,” which were presented for discussion at the meeting.
The attendees split into two groups with a prioritization board, embellished with notes stating the seven risk factors in substance abuse among youth: ease of access, parental attitudes, community norms, self-favorable attitude, friends’ use, perception of risk and harm, and early initiation.

Sergeant Julie Fuller presents one of the issues to consider to her group during the prioritizing session at the March 14 meeting of Quincy Partnership for Youth.
Photo by Jaana Hatton/For the Post-Register

The groups had to decide where on the board each note should go: high or low in priority for future action. In the end, the highest on the list ended up being perception of risk and harm, friends’ use, and parental attitudes. Those are the issues the coalition is going to start working on first within the community.
“Why is this happening in Quincy? Where to focus our energy?” said Ruiz to the group to sum up the mission ahead. They will have a meeting on March 22 to start working on the priorities.
The immediate past president (outgoing as of March 14), Dylan Kling, said that alcohol is a big issue, while tobacco use is declining, but vape use is on the rise.
Two youth attendees, Victor McBride and Karla Nunez, reported that they have been involved in putting together a campaign at school on vape and marijuana information, to be launched on April 18.
Kling also said that mental health is a significant factor. Many other issues start from mental problems. Therefore, “healthy” in QPY’s work does not only refer to substance abuse, but fostering an all-around healthy young individual.
Quincy’s Sources of Strength project, which deals with youth suicide, is led by Tessa Poortinga, a member of the QPY coalition. The high school is working on its campaign, and the junior high school is going to launch its in the week of March 18. The project will have teams in the junior high, high school and possibly at Quincy Innovation Academy. The object will be to see the warning signs, appropriate response and building coping skills.
With all the other planning, the coalition also elected two new officials on March 14: the new president is Kathie Brown and the president-elect (to be president in 2020) is Henry Hernandez.
Financially, the organization is in good shape. On Dec. 31, 2018, the coalition moved from the Grant County Health District to Grant Integrated Services for fiscal oversight. With funding from the Department of Behavioral Health and Recovery as well as local sources, the coalition has $300,264.59 available for the next two years.
Ruiz commented with a smile: “Five months ago, I wasn’t sure we would still be here. Now, we have plenty of money to do things in the community.” With the financial security and a heart for the community, the coalition is looking forward to engaging the youth in Quincy in positive ways.
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By Jaana Hatton, For the Post-Register