February 9, 2018
Stress, depression and mental health, self-esteem and teen substance abuse top the list of issues the youth of Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Presque Isle Counties feel are affecting their peers, according to a recent assessment conducted among youth in those communities.
The Northeast Michigan Youth Advisory Council (NEMYAC) recently completed a Youth Needs Assessment Survey, gathering the opinions on the known issues currently affecting youth. NEMYAC is a youth philanthropy program through the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (CFNEM) which teaches young people the importance of philanthropy, and helps them develop leadership skills through grantmaking and community service.
Every three years, Youth Advisory Councils, or YACs, throughout Michigan are required to survey their fellow youth to gain insight into the issues the youth feel are the most pressing for their local communities. The final results of the survey are used to guide the Council’s grantmaking for the next three years to address those issues. Grants from the Northeast Michigan Youth Advisory Council are awarded through the Kellogg Youth Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation.
“The survey results really help our NEMYAC members to focus their grant dollars where they are needed most,” said Alpena County YAC Advisor Tom Stoppa. “They show what is really impacting our kids today.”
Stoppa says that “stress issues” climbed from 7th place in 2015 to become the top issue teens believe they are facing today.
“Stress jumped to the top spot, and mental health and teen substance abuse continue to need our attention,” said Stoppa. “These subjects seem to be symptoms of the general need in our communities, and are issues that need to be addressed on many levels.”
As a leadership activity, YAC members, working with their adult advisors, are in charge of distributing this survey to students in their own schools. The 2018 Northeast Michigan Youth Needs Assessment survey includes feedback from students at high schools in the CFNEM service area of Alcona, Alpena, Montmorency and Presque Isle Counties. Once survey results are compiled, the list is narrowed down to the ten issues sited most as needing attention. Those ten issues for the 2018 survey are:
The Northeast Michigan Youth Advisory Council will begin using this list with their current round of grants, which will be decided this month.
“Not all of the grant applications that come to the Youth Advisory Council address the topics in this survey, and they don’t necessarily need to,” said Stoppa. “But we do hope the results of the survey encourage local agencies to enhance their efforts in tackling these issues. Our YACs have some grant funding to help them do that.”
To learn more about the Community Foundation’s NEMYAC Michigan, or to support this group of young philanthropists through donations to the Kellogg Youth Endowment Fund at CFNEM, visit www.cfnem.org.
The Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan is a charitable organization committed to providing people who care about the future of our area with unique and effective ways of supporting their community now, and for generations to come. Led by a volunteer board of local citizens, the foundation oversees a group of permanently endowed funds from a wide range of donors. Gifts of all sizes from individuals, families, businesses and agencies are invested in a balanced, well-managed portfolio to build endowments, enabling support for students and local community nonprofits now and forever.