Wasco County serves as the fiscal agent for YouthThink, a not-for-profit community organization. The organization is made up of community volunteers that represent youth and adults.
In 2001 a group of concerned citizens formed the Wasco County Prevention Coalition. This volunteer-based coalition was concerned with the number of youth and families that were being negatively impacted by substance use. The coalition submitted and received a Federal Drug-Free Communities Support Grant in 2002. The coalition successfully completed two terms of funding through the DFC program which covered a ten-year timeframe. That funding enabled educational and technical support which then provided a solid foundation for the coalition to grow and develop into a key resource for our county services and its citizens.
The first term of funding concentrated on establishing the coalition and building capacity. During the second term of funding the coalition changed its name to YouthThink and began to concentrate more on assessment and environmental factors. A more targeted implementation strategy assisted the coalition in defining its mission and vision. An Executive Board was established as well as new efforts in marketing/promoting the work of the organization.
Most recently YouthThink has changed its focus area to behavioral health promotion, beginning with much younger children, always with the desired outcome of reducing and preventing youth substance abuse. Experience and research are proving a better way of prevention. It is YouthThink’s belief that when we promote positive behavioral health we will naturally prevent many of the negative behaviors that plague our youth and families.
In 2014 YouthThink began working with Dr. Ann Corwin to implement an emotional literacy strategy throughout all of its programming. YouthThink has an active youth advisory committee who work as mentors for younger youth and also serve as community liaisons for the organization.
Wasco County serves as the fiscal agent for YouthThink and provides some financial and in-kind support such as office space, administrative, and tech support. YouthThink currently receives partial funding through a state/federal pass-through grant that helps fund the Prevention Coordinator position of the coalition. YouthThink also receives some financial assistance from the city of The Dalles. The majority of YouthThink’s program funding comes through grant writing efforts and donations.
See Also: Goals and Proposed Outcomes