October 15, 2018
Contact: Lori Croasdell
CEASe/Drug-Free Communities Coordinator
Scott County Partnership
For Immediate Release
EMPOWER Youth Coalition Impacts Scott County
As part of the Scott County Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Program initiative, some Scott County youth from both school districts started a youth driven and youth managed coalition this past spring called EMPOWER.
Founding members of EMPOWER are Byron Holland, Eliza Mount, Dylan Baker, Taylor Stewart, Madelyn Shelton, Destinie Achelpohl, Olivia Minor and Dalton Baker. They chose the name EMPOWER because they believe it encourages and equips Scott County youth with tools to live healthy, safe and drug-free lives. The coalition has grown to 13 members so far.
Byron Holland, now an adult advisor to EMPOWER shares, “EMPOWER plays a vital role in improving our community’s prevention work.” He adds, “Scott County youth are impressive in that they genuinely care about prevention just as much as adults do, and they are willing to go far to prove it. Our youth have represented Scott County’s prevention efforts in front of state and national audiences. They stand out as leaders for what an effective youth coalition should look like in communities.”
Recently, EMPOWER presented at the 2nd Annual South Central Opioid Summit in Bloomington, Indiana. During the panel presentation, the youth leaders shared a common misconception that youth are unconcerned citizens and that age discredits their ability to grasp issues. They stressed the importance of youth voices in their community. Scott County is proud of the panelists that included Emma Christoff, Eliza Mount, Byron Holland, and Madelyn Shelton, four of the coalition’s leaders.
Giving youth a seat at the table allows them to advocate for those most directly affected by substance use, abuse, and addiction. Getting our community healthy and keeping it healthy begins with youth involvement. Byron adds, “If we continue to invest in the next generation, then we will see positive outcomes for the future of prevention in Scott County. I look forward to expanding the work of EMPOWER.”
Melinda Lowry, the new DFC Youth Coordinator and advisor to EMPOWER adds, “The youth of Scott County are amazing. They are energetic, driven and have innovative ideas about how to make a difference. We are excited about how EMPOWER is positively impacting the community.”
EMPOWER is an all-inclusive youth coalition. All Scott County youth ages 12-18 are welcome to join. They meet the third Monday of every month at 5:45 pm at the LifeLong Learning Center, 1092 W. Community Way, Scottsburg.
Contact Melinda Lowry at firstname.lastname@example.org or (812) 595-6213 for more information.