Roaring Fork Valley gets prevention grant

Staff Report

Community Health Initiatives (CHI), a private nonprofit whose mission is to promote healthy behavior by sponsoring workplace and community programs and providing outpatient counseling for youth and adults, has been awarded a five-year grant by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

This grant will pay for the Communities That Care (CTC) process in the Roaring Fork Valley and Pitkin County. The money designated for this process comes from the state’s marijuana tax cash fund and was allocated to CDPHE for CTC projects across Colorado. Currently, 48 counties in Colorado have received CTC grants.

“Communities That Care is a model that is designed to help prevent problems that youth may encounter before they develop,” said Shelley Evans, CHI executive director. “Many communities that have implemented CTC have seen dramatic reductions in levels of youth alcohol and tobacco use and crime and violence.”

CTC is a national, evidence-based, substance abuse prevention planning model. Using prevention science as its base, CTC promotes healthy youth development, improves youth outcomes and reduces problem behaviors.

“Communities That Care is a model that is designed to help prevent problems that youth may encounter before they develop.”— Shelley Evans,Community Health Initiatives executive director

This community process was developed through the University of Washington and has realized national recognition and success. Data shows that youth at the eighth-grade level in communities that use this model were 25 percent to 33 percent less likely to engage in risky behaviors. The study also identified a return on investment of $5.30 in behavioral health savings for every $1 spent.

The CTC process begins with a youth survey to identify a community’s risks and strengths. Based on the data, CTC facilitates a process that empowers communities in selecting and implementing tested and effective prevention programs and policies. CTC also helps communities recognize and enhance programs already working for local youth.

Trési Houpt will facilitate and coordinate the Roaring Fork Valley program, encompassing the communities from Glenwood Springs to Basalt. Houpt previously served on the Roaring Fork Board of Education, Garfield County Board of Commissioners and the Roaring Fork Health Council, and she is a certified mediator, with an emphasis on community engagement.

“I am looking forward to working with the Roaring Fork Valley community to facilitate the identification and initiation of programs and policies focused on engaging youth in positive, productive, skill-building opportunities,” she said. “I am extremely impressed by the outcomes that the CTC model has achieved across the country.”

Emily Farrell is the facilitator and coordinator in Aspen, Snowmass and Woody Creek. Farrell is a licensed professional counselor in Aspen and has worked with youth in the community both as a school and private counselor.

For further information on the program or to learn about how you can get involved, contact:

• Pitkin County, Farrell:, 970-230-9644, ext. 733.

• Roaring Fork Valley, Houpt,, 970-230-9644, ext. 737.

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