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A chance to prevent problems among Doddridge youth

While education and prevention programs have become more widespread in schools and communities during the past decade, there has been a lack of coordination among organizations in delivering prevention programs.

Also, information on the risk factors for adolescent health and behavior problems, such as delinquency and drug abuse, suggests that risks are located in the home, at school, in peer groups and in the community.

It has become increasingly evident that effective prevention programming must involve the entire community, and specifically target risk factors that put youth at greater risk.

The "Community That Cares Survey" is a project to develop and implement a comprehensive community program for the prevention of problems among Doddridge County's youth.

The project is based on identifying risk factors for adolescent problem behaviors and to prevent, reduce and buffer those risk factors.

In November 1999, members of our community attended a three-day training to learn about the risk factors that have been identified, to learn how to assess and prioritize our community's most critical risk factors, and to learn how to assess whether existing community prevention programs in Doddridge County address risk factors.

In the fall of 2000, we will attend a second training to begin developing the comprehensive action plan that follows.

The development of our plan depends on the collaboration of a variety of community organizations and sectors. The implementation of the plan will require the same.

The Community That Cares Survey will be sponsored by the Doddridge County Family Resource Network and brought to the community through funding by the Governor's Safe and Drug-Free Communities Program as provided by the U.S. Department of Education Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.

It will need to be supported by a committee of community leaders, including government, law enforcement, the educational system, our faith community and our civic organizations.

Our community is defined as our neighbors, our children, our co-workers, our friends and ourselves.

The Community That Cares Survey needs your active involvement if we are to prevent health and behavior problems among our youth.

Each of us needs to step forward to support and actively participate in the implementation of this project.

If you wish to be a part of this project or have any questions, please call me at the Doddridge County FRN office at 863-1245.

Denise McIntire

West Union

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