Northern Dutchess Community Coalition Seeks Area Youth to Join Effort:
In an effort to deepen its connection with youth in Hyde Park, Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Pine Plains, Millbrook, Webutuck and Amenia schools, the Northern Dutchess Community Coalition (NDCC) is inviting middle and high school students within these districts to serve on its youth leadership committee. The NDCC, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing addiction, fostering recovery and promoting positive choices for young people in the Northern Dutchess County region, is looking to grow this volunteer committee to reflect the adolescents it works closely with.
“We invite any middle or high school student in Northern Dutchess who wants to make a difference to join us,” said Crissy Groenewegen, coalition coordinator at NDCC. “We want to hear their ideas, their concerns and, together, come up with ways to best reach their peers with messages around prevention. Alcohol, tobacco and nicotine, opioids, vaping and marijuana use has become increasingly problematic for students in our county. Educating youth around the dangers of these substances and positive mental health alternatives is imperative.”
NDCC’s youth leadership committee members are asked to attend one meeting, virtually, per month, to actively participate in NDCC events, as well as meet quarterly as a team.
“I’ve always been into activism, spreading awareness, and teaching other people,” said Joslan Carter, a seventh grader at Bulkeley Middle School in Rhinebeck and an active member of the NDCC’s youth leadership committee, who was introduced to the organization through a mask slogan competition it hosted for students. “I jumped at the idea of having my thoughts and voice have a greater impact on the community. Drug prevention and awareness are some of the most important things we can do to prevent early, and even adult, use, so I am excited that I can be a part of this ongoing process of education and interventions.”
Founded in 2009 by a group of concerned community members and volunteers in response to increased reports of risky behaviors by local youth, including substance abuse and underage drinking, the Northern Dutchess Community Coalition (NDCC) began offering educational forums, trainings and town halls to raise awareness around these issues. It has since expanded its mission to address the changing landscape by directly informing youth of the dangers of vaping and marijuana use, while promoting positive mental health choices.
In late 2019, working under the guidance of the Council on Addiction Prevention and Education of Dutchess County (CAPE), the NDCC was awarded a five-year, Federal Drug Free Communities Grant, governed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. With the support of this grant, the NDCC is expanding its outreach within Northern Dutchess communities, including Rhinebeck, Red Hook, Millbrook, Pine Plains, Webutuck, Amenia, North East, Millerton, Tivoli, Milan, Clinton and Hyde Park.
For more information on the NDCC, or to learn how to get involved, visit ndutchesscc.org or follow them on Facebook at @ndutchesscc