Representing some of our recent high school participants in United Way-sponsored Youth Engagement programming are (left to right) Stephanie Rusinko, George Rusinko, Carly Yusko, Alex Duke, and Kristen Pesci.
United Way Promotes Healthy Youth Behaviors
In recent years, our Medina County youth have endured a string of tragic events, including suicides, alcohol-related traffic accidents, and heroin overdoses. The most recent county-wide needs assessment revealed that our high school students were indeed facing challenges:
- 17% reported that they had seriously considered suicide in the past 12 months, a statistic that was higher than both the Ohio (14%) and national (16%) averages
- 25% said they were depressed, defined as feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more
- 54% reported being bullied during the previous 12 months
- 13% said they used prescription medications to get high, a number that increased to 21% for those over age 17
To help ensure that Medina County youth have the emotional, behavioral, and social support to succeed in life, we've invested in programs that provide peer-to-peer mentoring, resilience and emotion management training, and suicide prevention and awareness training. When four county school districts requested funding to provide full-time, on-site, high school mental health counselors, United Way stepped up. In addition, United Way plans and presents a biennial E4 Youth Summit, which brings together representatives from all county high schools to be heard, and to learn how to engage in civic projects and community problem-solving.
Our youth engagement goals are:
- Increase access to mental health services
- Educate youth on making safe and healthy choices
- Help youth mature into successful members of our communities
2017 Investments: $244,850
Alternative Paths School-Based One-on-One Counseling--Provides one-on-one counseling for Buckeye and Cloverleaf school systems.
Big Brothers Big Sisters Site-Based Mentoring Program--Provides mentors to youth. Mentors provide support, friendship, and guidance to children, which help improve self-confidence and communication skills that result in better academic success and stronger social skills.
Catholic Charities, Step Strong Program: A prevention program for middle and high school students designed to increase awareness of available support and how to access resources.
Rape Crisis Center Heroes 4 Hope--Strives to promote healthy relationships and prevent teen dating violence. Provides interactive presentations to 7th through 12th graders in 10 Medina County Schools.
The Salvation Army - Wadsworth Care Team--Provides opportunities for youth to participate in small group sessions that provoke thought, feeling, and talking. Allows youth to give and receive peer support.
Solutions Behavioral Health Resilience Program--Provides counseling in one-on-one and group settings in the Medina and Wadsworth school districts designed to help participants develop and strengthen positive coping skills, healthy relationships, and community support systems.