November, 2011 

Upcoming Events & Training Opportunities:



RSAPP AmeriCorps Member Training/ Meeting #1, Thursday December 15, 9:00-4:00, Mancos High school. Attendance is required for all RSAPP AmeriCorps members; Site Supervisors and community members are welcome to join us. Topics include Prevention 201, Civic Reflection, and Reports form the Field. For more information, contact Cathy Cowles. 








Many thanks to RSAPP's Generous Funders:


Serve Colorado


 Commission on Community Service)


El Pomar Foundation 


Daniels Fund


Telluride Foundation


Anschutz Family Foundation



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Welcome to RSAPP's Monthly e-Newsletter!

RSAPP, or Regional Substance Abuse Prevention Partners, has the long-term goal of decreasing youth substance abuse in Southwest Colorado. RSAPP's vision is: engaged, thriving youth invested in strong communities throughout our region. With our e-Newsletter, we aim to keep you informed about substance abuse prevention happenings, issues, events, activities, trainings, gatherings, successes and challenges here in Southwest Colorado.

Healthy Kids Colorado Survey

Durango High School students taking the survey
     During October and November, thousands of middle and high school students across southwest Colorado participated in the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey (HKCS.) This voluntary anonymous survey measures students' behaviors and attitudes around many health-related topics, including substance use, sexual behaviors, physical activity, nutrition, mental health, school safety and physical fighting. HKCS is one of the most recognized surveillance systems in Colorado. It is supported by Colorado's Department of Education, Division of Behavioral Health and Prevention Services Division, as well as coalitions, schools and districts throughout the state.
     Data co
llected from HKCS is used by community and regional prevention organizations to show need, develop evidence-based programs, and demonstrate progress. RSAPP worked with OMNI institute and community partners to administer HKCS in almost all public middle schools and high sch
Celebrating Community Norms Coalition members Lauren Patterson and Greg Felson pack up the completed surveys
Celebrating Community Norms coalition members Lauren Patterson and Greg Felson packing up the completed surveys
ools in the 5-county region this year. Only one school district did not participate this year.
    HKCS sur
veys and reports are not free, and RSAPP was able to contribute approximately $20,000 towards this regional evaluation project. Each participating school district also contributed financially to the survey's cost, in addition to coordinating student schedules and teacher training. Community coalitions and prevention organizations contributed countless hours of volunteer labor towards this project.
     For mo
re information about HKCS, visit OMNI's website. For more information about the HKCS evaluation project in southwest Colorado, contact Cathy Cowles.

RSAPP AmeriCorps member of the Month: Cindy Houston
Cindy Houston
Cindy Lou Houston, RSAPP AmeriCorps member serving Montezuma County.

          Montezuma County is fortunate to have Cindy  Houston serving a second term with RSAPP and the School Community Youth Collaborative (SCYC.)  Cindy Lou brings passion and understanding to her service with youth, and is a true community prevention organizer.   

       High School Leadership Montezuma (HSLM) is a group of 24 sophomores and juniors from Montezuma and Dolores counties that gets together for a full day every month to develop the skills, knowledge, experience, and connections they need to create positive change in their communities. Cindy Lou organizes this diverse group of youth and plans activities and information sessions. A highlight of HSLM is the group's community service project - to learn more, listen to this recent interview with HSLM alum Satchel Coburn on KSJD Dry Land Community Radio. 

     In addition to HSLM, Cindy Lou works with the Youth Leadership Council, helping high school students polish their leadership skills while they organize to meet a community challenge. Cindy Lou is honing her own leadership skills by participating in OMNI Institute's 6-month Leadership Practicum. She is also pulling together community members for the Heart and Soul Project, getting input from diverse sectors - including (especially!) youth - to answer the question "what is the heart of our community?" And Cindy and SCYC are partners in the American Graduate  Project, a county-wide multimedia effort to  promote academic success and community support of schools.  

      Before AmeriCorps, Cindy Lou was a successful self-employed business owner, living happily with her husband and daughter on a sweet little farm. She realized that she was disappointed in the options available for her 10-year old daughter, and that she could help change that. As a result of her AmeriCorps service, Cindy Lou says "I feel like I'm actually part of the community. I'm connected to youth and the schools." The flip side is that it's hard to turn it off - this community organizer is involved in so much positive change that it can be hard for her to punch out.

      When she does take some time to herself, you'll likely find Cindy Lou hiking or camping with her family, riding her mountain bike with people from all over the region, or charging around the flat track with her roller derby team. To learn more about these projects or to express your appreciation for her service, send Cindy Houston an email.  


Red Ribbon Week: It's up to me to be drug free!   

Poster contest winner

    Red Ribbon Week was celebrated in southwest Colorado - and all over the nation - October 23-29.   

     Dove Creek pulled out the stops for Red Ribbon Week. Dove Creek High School's Students Taking action against Underage Drinking (STUD) visited every elementary school classroom, talking about the importance of staying drug-free, facilitating a coloring contest and distributing goodie bags. Dove Creek Middle School had a poster contest, and the High School had a "just dance" wii competition. STUD put together a bag of pretzels for each middle- and high- school students, labeled "Don't let drugs twist your mind," with 8 tips for staying drug free. Many Dove Creek students signed a pledge to stay drug-free, and to help their friends stay drug-free too. 
        Students at Durango's Escalante Middle School watched a helicopter land on the soccer field, delivering two police officers and a military pilot to an assembly on substance use choices. The helicopter got everyone's attention, and the officers and a coach gave an effective, personalized presentation on alcohol and other drugs. Dolores Middle and High Schools also had Red Ribbon activities all week, and promoted Prescription Drug Take-back Day to parents. Unfortunately, weather put the kibosh on plans to give kids an opportunity to sign a red ribbon on the sidewalk in front of the school.

    Red Ribbon Week began after the kidnapping, torture and brutal murder of Drug Enforcement Agent Enrique "Kiki" Camarena in 1985. Today it is the largest, most visible prevention awareness campaign observed annually in the United States.   

Drug-free pledges
Looking at drug-free pledges at Dove Creek High School
Community Prevention Events in December

      For many of us, December is a time to gather together with family and friends and celebrate the positive things in our lives. In this spirit, prevention providers in southwest Colorado have planned numerous events to bring people together to share resources, joy, traditions and healthy fun.      

      As usual, Silverton Youth Center (SYC) has a busy month ahead. On December 3, SYC will organize the annual Yule Log Festival at Kendall Mountain Recreation Area. Preschool and elementary-aged children will find the Yule Log by following a trail of candy left by the Sugar PlDecember imageum Fairy. A community gathering will follow, with a bonfire, hot drinks and caroling. The following week, SYC kids will have a bake sale at Silverton's Christmas Bazaar on December 10. And on Friday, December 16, Silverton's middle and high school students are invited to an all-night party at the Youth Center. For more information, contact Julie Danjou. 

      In Dove Creek, Students Taking action against Underage Drinking (STUD) is participating in the community's Angel Tree project by holding a food drive. Through December 15, STUDs are collecting non-perishable food items for Dove Creek families in need. For drop-off locations or more information, contact Kristy Chadd.

     And a new family tradition is starting up in Cortez this year, with the inaugural "Jingle Bell Dash." On December 17, School Community Youth Collaborative (SCYC) is hosting this 5k/1mile walk or run to celebrate educators while raising funds to support SCYC's youth programs. Jingle Bell Dash-ers will fill Cortez with the sound of appreciation for educators as the bells tied to their shoes ring with each step. Early (cheaper!) registration ends December 1, and participants are encouraged to bring school supplies to the event so that Montezuma County teachers have the tools to do their job well. 

For more information, visit the Jingle Bell Dash website or e-mail Tyra Hughes.  

Teen Maze Launches New Website
       If you're wondering what's up with the Teen Maze, a signature regional prevention event hosted by School Community Youth Collaborative, check out the brand new Teen Maze website. You'll find tons of information about this "life sized game board" that SCYC and hundreds community volunteers have offered to our region's youth almost every year since 2001. Whether you are interested in to getting your community's middle school to participate, you are looking for a volunteer opportunity, or you just want to learn more about this impactful event, you'll find information on the website. If you still have questions about Teen Maze, contact Tyra Hughes.

Thank you for being part of RSAPP! If you have any submissions for next month's newsletter, please send them to me.



Cathy Cowles

RSAPP Program Coordinator