When communities care about the healthy development of their youth, positive things happen for the community’s future, including economic benefits over time. The Lehi CaresCoalition is working to prevent risky outcomes for youth and,more importantly, to provide youth with opportunities, skills and recognition for positive social involvement and interactions that will build healthy connections and develop lasting relationships.
The recently created Lehi Cares Coalition is a community change alliance to address potential youth problems before they start and to help build a safe, nurturing environment for all children. Studies have shown that a care prevention system focused on healthy youth development has resulted in positive effects for young people that can last into adulthood.
Lehi’s Coalition is in its organization phase. It seeks community volunteers who want to positively impact Lehi’s future and find ways for the community, families, schools and individuals to bond for lasting and impactful results. Chelsea Macdonald is the newly hired Communities That Care Coalition Coordinator. Her full-time position is within the Lehi Police Department.
Macdonald’s enthusiasm for the coalition and promoting positive connections will help build a strong community board that will implement a community change process to prevent problems before they start. The Communities That Care (CTC) framework, an evidence-based approach developed by the University of Washington, has been selected by Lehi City to guide the coalition in identifying proven solutions that meet the needs of Lehi’s youth.
“What I love about this coalition model is how evidence-based it is. Because it has science and research behind it that show results, we already know it can make a difference. Other communities have used the same model we are implementingsuccessfully. This will work the same way in Lehi with successful outcomes,” said Macdonald.
Key leaders in the coalition include administrators from both Skyridge and Lehi High Schools, as well as junior highs and elementary schools across the city. Local businesses and professionals are represented, as well as social services, parents and parent organizations, law enforcement, government, faith-based groups and youth organizations. The key leaders will help to implement and support the well-being and healthy development of children and youth in the Lehi community.
Community volunteers are necessary to represent all city sectors and capture Lehi’s unique diversity. The evidence-based program model will help better understand what is needed to promote positive social development among children, adolescents and young adults. The call to action is for anyone in the community that wants to help build a positive future for Lehi City.
Macdonald says, “The reason this matters for every person in the community is that this coalition can potentially decrease unhealthy and risky behaviors and offer opportunities for improvement. Public safety will increase as crime decreases, and bonding relationships will better support the community. Prevention is key for a successful program.”
The Communities That Care Coalition was introduced to LPD Lt. Kenny Rose by the Utah County Health Department. Rose felt there was no question that this program should be implemented in Lehi. He brought it to the attention of the administration at the police department, and then it was explained to the mayor, who supported the development of the Lehi Cares Coalition.
“I find a huge amount of value in this coalition. Just with the collective village mentality of everyone being able to help raise and protect the children of Lehi. If we are not collectively involved in influencing children for good, there will be plenty of bad influences that will. I’ve seen this in my life and vowed tostep in and do what I could to stop the bad influences. We need to help all have the best chances possible for a positive outcome,” said Rose.
Why is it important to get involved in the coalition and to support the well-being and healthy development of our youth? According to Rose, “The children represent a small portion of the community, but they are one hundred percent of the future.That is a powerful statement; within our high schools lies our potential and future leadership within the city, our businesses,the state and even federally. We owe it to them to give them the best opportunities for success.”
Those who would like to be involved in the Lehi Cares Coalition, please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information or to register as a volunteer for the coalition,see the website at https://www.lehi-ut.gov/departments/police/lehi-cares-coalition/.