Depression and mental health, stress, and school and homework top the list of issues the youth of Crawford, Ogemaw and Oscoda Counties feel are affecting their peers, according to a recent assessment conducted among youth in those communities.
The North Central Michigan Youth Advisory Councils (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 North Central Michigan Community Foundation (NCMCF) 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 North Central Michigan Youth Advisory Councils are awarded through the Crawford, Ogemaw and Oscoda County Kellogg Youth Endowment Funds 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 Community Foundation Program Officer Kara Bauer LeMonds. “This time around the top three issues remained the same, which really reflect the general need for more services in these areas and are issues that need to be addressed on many levels.”
As a leadership activity, YAC members, working with their adult advisors, oversee the distribution of this survey to students in their own schools. The 2022 North Central Michigan Community Foundation Youth Needs Assessment survey includes feedback from 200 students at high schools in the NCMCF service area of Crawford, Ogemaw and Oscoda 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 2022 survey are:
- Depression / Mental Health Issues
- Stress Issues
- School Work / Homework Issues
- Teen Suicide
- Body Image / Appearance Issues
- Self-Esteem Issues
- Bullying / Cyberbullying
- Eating Disorders
- Teen Substance Abuse (alcohol, illegal drugs, and tobacco)
- Lack of Things to Do Locally
“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 Bauer LeMonds. “But we do hope the results of the survey encourage local agencies to develop or continue efforts in tackling these issues, and we’ve got some grant funding to help them out in doing that.”
To learn more about the North Central Michigan Youth Advisory Council, or to support this group of young philanthropists through donations, visit www.ncmcf.org.
The North Central Michigan Community Foundation, an affiliate of the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan, is a nonprofit organization which holds a collection of permanently endowed funds supporting a broad range of purposes, from arts and humanities, education, health and human services, and more. These funds are carefully and wisely invested, with money generated from these endowment funds providing annual grants in support of Crawford, Ogemaw and Oscoda Counties, which will continue to benefit the North Central Michigan region forever.