"Who do I talk to about the drugs I found in my teenagers backpack?"
"I think my child is becoming sexually active, who do I call?"
"I'm a single mom. Where can I find a male role model for my teenager?"
For two years, a group of nonprofit agencies have been working on a one-stop resource guide to answer those and other questions from teens and parents. The 32-page phone book is finally ready for distribution.
The guide had its debut Wednesday night at Steamboat Springs High School during an orientation for next year's freshmen. Millie Beall from Routt County United Way and Brooke Lachman, the Steamboat Springs teen programs coordinator, handed the guide to attending parents and teens.
According to Beall, they received a positive response.
"We beat on a lot of doors to get the information and funding for this resource guide," Beall said. "Now, it's up to us to keep the information current."
The idea for a communitywide, teen-centered resource guide came a year ago as Beall read grant applications from several different agencies requesting money for similar projects. She realized that agencies were not communicating with each other.
"We began encouraging youth providers to spend more time working together," Beall said. "Each of these agencies were coming at the same problems from different angles. We encouraged them to merge their angles."
Youth providers began meeting regularly, forming collaboration they called "Go F.A.R." for Family and Adolescent Resources. As a group they set several goals. The first of which was a first point of contact for parents and teens.
"Say I have two teenagers and they are having different problems," Beall said. "How do I sort through the quagmire of services and how many times do I have to tell my story?"
First, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition volunteered to be a central phone number that parents and teens could call for information and then they began work on a tangible resource guide that people could keep next to their phone.
Not only does the resource guide offer information for who to call in a crisis, but it also attempts to satisfy the universal complaint of teenagers in Routt County: "There's nothing to do."
The guide has a section for volunteer opportunities appropriate for teenagers, a section for employment assistance and entertainment.
Participating agencies will watch and wait this year to see how effective the new resource guide will be, who will use it and what needs to be added to future resource guides.
Five thousand copies were printed and are available to teens, parents, teachers and anyone who works with teens for free at City Hall, in the offices of Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Partners in Routt County, Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, Advocates Against Battering and Abuse, Steamboat Mental Health, Routt County United Way or by calling 879-6188.
-- To reach Autumn Phillips call 871-4210
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