TAWAS CITY - Depression and mental health, stress and self-esteem issues top the list of issues the youth of Iosco County feel are affecting their peers, according to a recent assessment conducted among youth in those communities.
The Iosco County’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) recently completed a Youth Needs Assessment Survey, gathering the opinions on the known issues currently affecting youth. YAC is a youth philanthropy program through the Iosco County Community Foundation (ICCF) 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 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 Iosco County Youth Advisory Council are awarded through the Iosco County Kellogg Youth Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation.
“One of the most eye-opening things we see from conducting this survey is the changes over time in the issues that come out on top,” said Jordan Barclay, the YAC Advisor for Hale High School. “This year, mental health and depression jumped from number three to number one on the list. Three years ago, ‘stress issues’ didn’t even make the list, but this year it comes at number 2. I think those things are symptoms of the general need in our communities, and are issues that need to be addressed across the board.”
Based on the results of the assessment, which collects input from youth at Tawas, Hale, Whittemore-Prescott and Oscoda High Schools, teen substance abuse remains a top issue as well.
As a leadership activity, YAC members, working with their adult advisors, are in charge of distributing this survey to students in their own schools. 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:
- Depression and Mental Health
- Stress Issues
- Self-Esteem Issues
- Teen Substance Abuse (alcohol, illegal drugs, and/or tobacco)
- Bullying / Cyber Bullying
- Teen Suicide
- Body Image / Appearance Issues
- Financial Issues
- Teen Pregnancy
- Learning Disorders
The Iosco County Youth Advisory Council will begin using this list with their current round of grants, which will be reviewed and approved in March.
“Not all of the grant applications that come to the Youth Advisory Council address the topics in this survey, and they don’t have to,” said Barclay. “But we do hope the results of the survey encourage local agencies to develop or continue efforts in tackling these issues, and that they know we have some funding to help them do it.”
To learn more about the Iosco County Youth Advisory Council, or to support this group of young philanthropists through donations, visit www.iccf-online.org.
The Iosco County Community Foundation is an affiliate of the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan (CFNEM), which serves as the administrative arm for ICCF. Committed to providing people who care about the future of the region and its communities with unique and effective ways of supporting their community now, and for generations to come, ICCF is 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, business and agencies are invested in a balanced, well-managed portfolio to build endowments, enabling support for local community nonprofits now and forever. To make a donation or learn more about how community foundations work, visit www.iccf-online.org or call 989-354-6881; toll-free: 877-354-6881.