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Eagle River Youth Coalition

The Eagle River Youth Coalition (ERYC) makes youth a community priority. ERYC rallies community support to enable youth to reach their full potential. ERYC creates positive change by promoting the youth voice, strengthening collaboration and addressing the most critical needs of youth.

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Sober & Alert Safe Driving Initiative

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
Alcohol, Drug, Substance Abusers
General population
Young Adults (20-25 years)

Description

ERYC has been funded through the CO Office of Behavioral Health and CO Department of Transportation to lead safe driving efforts that improve reducing distracted and impaired driving across the Eagle River Valley for young drivers ages 15-34. In partnership with law enforcement, schools, parents, healthcare providers, businesses, driving schools, judicial, victim's assistance services, emergency responders, and youth, ERYC is working to improve overall systems that reduce community impairment, technology use, and impaired driving.

Strategies include: education regarding Graduated Drivers Licenses laws, impacts of marijuana impairment on driving behaviors, media campaigns to be or find a sober and alert driver, improving alternative transportation options, and improving sober activity options for youth and adults that help those who want to stay sober find a community. Efforts to support those who want to reduce their substance consumption through the Prime for Life program are being expanded. Additionally, ERYC is working with retailers to improve internal systems and training opportunities to reduce youth access to substances as well as preventing service to those already intoxicated. All strategies are aligned to improve the safety of our roadways, and the overall health of our community.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Strategies are just getting underway and will be reviewed on an annual basis. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies community education regarding driver laws, awareness through media campaigns, addition of alternative transportation options, as well as increased enforcement are effective in addressing impaired and distracted driving.

ERYC is also working with the Climate Action Collaborative of Eagle County to align efforts to reduce individual vehicles on the roadway through rideshares, carpooling and use of alternative transportation options. These efforts will be measured through a green house gas (GHG) inventory conducted by the collaborative every 3 years. The transportation sector has been identified by the collaborative through the most recent GHG inventory as the most important sector to focus climate action efforts around in order to reduce green house gas emissions.

Collaborative Management Program

Class

Human Services 

Beneficiaries

Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations
Children (4-12 years)
Families

Description

CMP is a youth intervention framework with county-level collaboration among partner agencies focused on increasing positive outcomes for youth involved in multi-systems. Established in 2004 by State of Colorado Legislature House Bill 04-1451, CMP utilizes an Individualized Service and Support Team (ISST) to drive intervention services. ISST meetings are held with a multi-disciplinary team that focuses on needs identified by the youth and families. During ISST meetings, all participants work together utilizing a strengths-based and family-choice approach to develop an integrated service plan. The goal is to identify and connect youth and their families with resources and services that will improve their lives. An Eagle County Interagency Oversight Group (ECIOG) oversees the implementation of the local CMP, with supervision provided by Eagle River Youth Coalition and Eagle County Department of Human Services - Child Welfare.

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Evidence of Program's Success

CMP is a promising practice, rooted in research that proves that collaborations work and are effective at addressing issues and finding solutions. Reflections from stakeholders document the value of CMP's work in reducing the chances that youth become involved in the legal system or of serious consequences that result in negative outcomes for youth and their families.

Youth Prevention Education Programs

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Children Only (5 - 14 years)
Other Named Groups
Youth/Adolescents only (14 - 19 years)

Description

As part of a comprehensive substance use prevention plan, ERYC coordinate the facilitation of evidence-based programs including: LifeSkills, Project Alert, Prime for Life, Red Ribbon Week activities, safe driving fairs and substance-free alternative activities. Beginning prevention education in elementary and middle school and reinforcing it in high school provides youth with the tools and knowledge to prevent risky behaviors into adulthood. Prevention curricula has been coordinated since 2009 at various local schools. Evidence-based curricula are designed to help students develop healthy coping and communication skills, acquire resources that help them resist peer pressure, improve decision making strategies, and develop the motivation to not use substance or drive impaired.

Safe driving fairs have been coordinated since 2012 at local schools through the Eagle County Prevention Committee, of which ERYC is an active member, and have reached all students on campus during lunch with activities and stations that remind them to drive safely and refrain from distracted or impaired driving. All alternative activities, such as youth only events, are offered during times of the year when teens are more likely to partake in substance use and high risk behavior. These events offer a safe and substance-free alternative. Events have occurred around prom, graduation, and homecoming.

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Evidence of Program's Success

• In the 2018-2019 school year, ERYC served 1,238 youth from 5th-12th grade through in-school prevention education programs. Individual evaluations were collected for all participants. From beginning to end of the prevention programs, ERYC observed maintained or positive trends regarding no lifetime substance use as reported on the pre-survey, by post-survey youth report high perceived risk of substance use, and high disapproval of substance use.
• 94% of youth who participated in an early intervention substance use program reported decreased or stopped substance use after the program.
• By the end of the elementary LifeSkills program, offered in partnership with Red Ribbon Project, SpeakUp ReachOut, and UB.U, 89% of youth reported they knew 2 healthy coping skills to use to calm their body and mind.

Eat Chat Parent and Family Education Programs

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Families
General Public/Unspecified

Description

ERYC's model provides an opportunity for parents and guardians to participate in a continuum of services on varying participation levels, all while addressing the current priority needs of the local youth, and providing parents with the skills and resources to overcome these concerns. Currently, ERYC offers services for families designed to be interactive, educational and a basis for skill building. This progression of services includes the Eat Chat Parent series, a family communication series, and community resource opportunities.

The Eat Chat Parent series, focuses on mental health topics and provides an opportunity for parents and youth to enrich and develop skills, explore possible solutions for challenges they face, and gain awareness of critical areas of concern with local youth behaviors. This family outreach program is offered to the general public with dinner and childcare included, coupled with a bilingual format and live interpretation, while also considering the sensitivities to the varying local cultures. The program is based on providing a safe setting to encourage open and honest dialogue with experts, parents, and youth regarding challenging topics. The focus on mental health helps to break down the stigma in the home around discussing mental health concerns, wellness, and all dimensions of overall health. In the 2018-2019 school year, ERYC offered 6 topics over 12 presentations at up valley and down valley locations, and served 1,462 family and community members.

ERYC offers the community a more intensive family communication series that focuses on improving family relationships and expectations. This evidence-based series was developed to offer a comprehensive opportunity to address critical issues and concerns when parenting teens, including substance use, communication, discipline, and positive reinforcement. Youth and parents attend classes simultaneously to learn skills and set shared expectations.

The Community Resource Directory is published on a regular basis and 2,000 bilingual English and Spanish copies are distributed throughout the community to keep parents abreast of programs and services available. An online directory is also maintained to provide access to families outside of the print version and can be found at eagleyouth.org/resources. A community resource fair is coordinated in the spring to bring parents and service providers together, enroll in programs and services on site, and encourage summer participation in opportunities.

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Evidence of Program's Success

The Eat Chat Parent topics in 2018-2019 were: Your Kid's Brain on Tech by Dr. Lisa Strohman; Like, the Documentary; Resiliency & Self-Esteem with Sharon Raggio, Gerry Lopez and Mel McCalley; Cyberbulling, Sexting and Unwise Social Media Use: The Role of Parents by Dr. Sameer Hinduja; Your Child and Anxiety: You Can Help by Dr. Steven Schlozman and Julie Kiddoo; and Teen Substance Abuse and the Role of Toxic Stress by Kari Commerford.

92% of Eat Chat Parent attendees felt more confident discussing the topic with their family after attending a presentation and 98% recognize mental health as an important aspect of overall health.

Communities That Care & Environmental and Policy Change

Class

Education 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Families
General Public/Unspecified
At-Risk Populations

Description

ERYC engages in several youth initiatives to address the top priority issues facing youth, including substance use and abuse. ERYC collaborates with local law enforcement partners, healthcare professionals, liquor and marijuana establishments, local businesses, governments, and schools to focus on reducing youth substance use and impaired driving. Prevention efforts and awareness strategies are designed to reach the entire community and include positive media campaigns, increased signage, compliance checks, and policy review. Information is disseminated via stickers, signs, radio announcements, television interviews, print articles, newsletters, and social media.

Eagle County Communities That Care: As a result of taxes collected on marijuana sales, ERYC has received grant funding to partner with Eagle County Public Health to implement The Communities That Care (CTC) Process in Eagle County. CTC guides communities through a proven five-phase change process using prevention science to promote healthy youth development. When implemented with high fidelity CTC communities see reductions in levels of youth substance use, violence, delinquent behaviors, teen pregnancy, and improvements in mental health. Community stakeholders and members from a wide range of sectors are engaged on either the Key Leader Board or Community Board. These boards move the community through the evidences based CTC process, which includes many milestones and benchmarks. Using Health Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS) data and other local data sources, Community Board members prioritized common risk and protective factors in Eagle County. These prioritized risk and protective factors have informed the implementation of evidenced based environmental strategies that over time, can reduce substance youth, violence, and delinquency in Eagle County Youth.

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Evidence of Program's Success

CTC was tested in a randomized controlled trial in 24 communities across 7 states. In this trial, a panel of 4407 students from CTC and control communities were surveyed annually from 5th grade. By 8th grade, students in CTC communities were less likely to:
• Initiate delinquent behaviors
• Use alcohol, cigarettes, and smokeless tobacco
Compared to students in control groups.

Valley's Voice (formerly Youth Leaders Council)

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Ethnic/Racial Minorities - General
Poor/Economically Disadvantaged
Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
At-Risk Populations
General population

Description

In 2019, ERYC and the Youth Leaders Council have undergone a process to update youth advising and leadership opportunities in the community. More youth are being identified as youth advisors for local organizations and the new framework will allow as many youth as possible in our community to be part of community efforts to address youth needs. In the 2019-2020 school year, youth will be encouraged to connect with local organizations and submit projects to complete that address an identified youth issue. A youth advisory board has been comprised and will work in partnership with an adult advisory board to connect youth with projects and opportunities. This new framework, called the Valley's Voice, will allow youth who don't traditionally seek leadership roles to get involved.

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Evidence of Program's Success

Local youth engagement and leadership in the program has increased on an annual basis.

YLC youth have been a part of policy review work for both tobacco and mental health policies in our community. Through their education of policy-makers regarding the issues they have observed or collected related to these two topics, they have impacted local policy that has reduced youth tobacco access and improved mental health services.

By post survey, over 80% of participants report they mostly or always feel that their voice and opinions are heard.

Alumni report continued engagement in civic roles post program graduation and over 75% of alumni are currently engaged in ongoing volunteer roles.

Comprehensive Youth Needs Assessment and Strategic Planning

Class

Youth Development 

Beneficiaries

Adults
Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.)
Families
General Public/Unspecified
At-Risk Populations

Description

Since its inception, the Eagle River Youth Coalition has taken a leadership role in assessing local youth behaviors, evaluating service gaps, and mobilizing the community to address priority youth needs. The biennial Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS), administered collaboratively with all local middle and high schools (public and private), is the largest data assessment effort overseen by ERYC. The survey guides schools, law enforcement, non-profit agencies and other youth serving organizations with vital information on the current behaviors and trends of local youth. In 2017, ERYC surveyed over 3,000 local 7th- 12th grade youth at local public and private middle and high schools.

The Eagle River Valley is the only community in the state to have 100% of schools (public and private) participate in the survey. Survey results guide a biennial evidence-based positive media campaign, aimed at utilizing positive behaviors to change perceptions and youth behaviors around health choices, such as substance use/abuse, safe driving, mental health, and bullying. I

ERYC disseminates the HKCS results to the local community to guide strategic planning efforts including the Youth Master Plan, a community engagement process initiated in 2018 to align goals, outcomes, resources and providers in one collective vision for youth in the Eagle River Valley. HKCS results presentations are scheduled with town officials, foundations and funders, school groups, law enforcement departments, healthcare providers, school boards, youth, youth-serving agencies, parents and other community stakeholder groups.

In addition to the HKCS, ERYC facilitates needs assessments, readiness assessments, and strategic planning efforts. ERYC staff and board members are able to be a part of numerous community collaboratives that work together to improve health needs in the community. Through participation on these collaboratives, ERYC is able to share information across all groups as well as see opportunities for leveraging resources, representing key stakeholders and improving efficiencies in service delivery. Convening with key stakeholders and decision-makers beyond non-profit agencies, including public health providers, the Judicial District, probation, mental health entities, public and private schools, local businesses, and law enforcement, has enabled ERYC to facilitate development of larger community-wide behavior change initiatives.

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Evidence of Program's Success

ERYC has been able to collaborate with over 40 youth-serving entities in the Eagle River Valley to address youth needs. Since receiving the 2017 HKCS results, ERYC has provided data outcome presentations to community members to raise more awareness about priority youth needs and to convene conversations around how to address those needs. ERYC released a local trend analysis report that guides conversations even further in understanding the priority needs of youth, identified as youth substance use and mental health needs.

Evidence of program success is also in the buy-in received by local schools in coordinating the facilitation of the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey and using the results to make changes internally within their schools as well as across the community. The Eagle River Valley is the only community in the State of Colorado to have high level school participation in the survey administration. From these efforts, ERYC has also been invited to participate on the HKCS State Advisory Committee. As told to ERYC by community partners who utilize the survey data in demonstrating a need for services and programs, use of the data brings into our community more than $2 million annually in additional funding to improve the overall efforts of supporting healthy youth.

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