Our Vision: The Pueblo community strives, through collaborative efforts, to empower youth with opportunities to become healthy, educated, and responsible citizens.
Our Goal: To prevent youth substance use, delinquency, and violence. We do this by minimizing negative things in the environment (risk factors) and increasing positive things in a young person’s life (protective factors).
What is Communities That Care (CTC):
Through a series of phases over the course of several years, CTC addresses risks in the community with the goal of preventing youth substance use by addressing a community’s risk and protective factors. Risk and protective factors are present across several areas of a young person’s life (like in school, in their family, or in the community) and can lead to a young person using substances (risk factors) or can help prevent them from engaging in problem behaviors (protective factors). Our goal is to lower risk factors and increase protective factors in Pueblo. In 2017, Pueblo Communities that Care (CTC) analyzed local-level data to prioritize risk and protective factors to address in the community.
Our risk factor is Academic Failure in Late Elementary School; research shows that between 3rd and 5th grade, students build pivotal academic and socioemotional skills and if students do not build those skills, they are more likely to use substances and have poor mental health in high school. Our protective factor is Opportunities for Prosocial Involvement in the Community; research indicates that the more that youth have to do in their community, the less likely they are to use substances.
This process would not be successful without help from community members serving on a Community Board. The board includes over 50 coalition members who represent community organizations, businesses, non-profits, parents, and youth that come together to plan and implement strategies targeted to lower youth substance use.
What are we doing?
After we chose our risk and protective factors, we looked at what is happening in Pueblo to identify what is already successfully working in the community, and what could be improved. From there, we chose evidence-based, community-wide strategies to implement including:
1.Increasing access and affordability of quality childcare
To increase academic success in elementary school, we are building support and capacity for quality childcare early in life. Research indicates that quality childcare allows children to experience optimal positive development and prepares them for academic success in the future; the more that children academically, emotionally, and physically succeed in school, the less likely they are to use alcohol and drugs in high school. Check out how we’ve worked to increase accessibility and availability of childcare below:
2. Increasing access of youth-friendly community spaces
To increase the opportunities for youth to become involved in their community, we are working to increase the accessibility and affordability of community spaces for youth. Research indicates that the more that young people participate in prosocial opportunities and are engaged in their community, the less likely they are to use drugs and alcohol. Check out how we’ve worked to identify what barriers youth have in engaging with prosocial places and spaces, and how we’re working on eliminating those barriers.
3. Connecting youth to Pueblo experiences
Southern Colorado Youth Go (SoCoYoGo) is a fun and innovative way to get Pueblo’s young people participating in healthy, prosocial activities. The online platform allows youth to earn points for visiting or engaging in prosocial opportunities in Pueblo County in order to collect rewards redeemable at various local businesses. As Pueblo’s first youth-only online platform, SoCoYoGo encourages youth to connect with friends and mentors, visit exciting locations in Pueblo, and earn rewards while being safe and healthy!
Youth Action Board
As we make Pueblo more youth friendly and prevent youth substance use, it’s important that we authentically engage and partner with Pueblo youth. To get youth perspectives, we hire ten youth advisers (aged 13-20 years) who make up the CTC Youth Action Board. Together, they provide insight and guidance on a variety of topics and issues, work with peers and adults on projects, engage with community members and organizations to facilitate activities, and help plan and attend community presentations or events.
The Youth Action Board also manages their own social media sites—check them out below:
Become a CTC youth adviser
- Experience living or working in the Pueblo community.
- Willingness to give presentations and speak publicly.
- Willingness to attend monthly meetings.
- Must be between 13 and 20 years old.
Benefits of Participating
- Community service hours.
- Food at most in-person meetings.
- Letters of recommendation for scholarships and employment.
Youth Advisers in the News:
Interested in joining the coalition or wanting to learn more about CTC efforts? Email Sarah Martinez ([email protected]) and Akemi Moore ([email protected]).