CHEBOYGAN —Mental Health and Depression, Suicide, and Bullying top the list of issues the youth of Cheboygan County and Mackinaw City feel are affecting their peers and the local youth community, according to a recent assessment conducted among youth.
The Straits Area Youth Advisory Council (SAYAC) recently completed a Youth Needs Assessment Survey, gathering the opinions on the known issues affecting youth. SAYAC is a youth philanthropy program through the Straits Area Community Foundation (SACF) 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 Straits Area Youth Advisory Council are awarded through the Straits Area Kellogg Youth Fund at SACF.
“One of the most important things we see from the SAYAC members conducting this survey is the changes over time in the issues that come out on top,” said the SAYAC Advisor, Jennifer Lee. “This year, depression and suicide were much more prominent than in our last survey three years ago. I think those things are symptoms of the general need in our communities, not only with mental health issues, but also cyberbullying and troubles at home.”
As a leadership activity, SAYAC members are in charge of distributing this survey to students in their own schools. The 2018 Straits Area Community Foundation Youth Needs Assessment survey includes feedback from students at Cheboygan High School, Mackinaw City High School and Wolverine High School. Once survey results are compiled, the list is narrowed down to the eight issues sited most as needing attention. Those eight issues for the 2018 survey are:
- Mental Health and Depression
- Drug Use and Drug Abuse
- Alcohol Use and Drug Abuse
- College/Preparations for the Future
- Academic Stress
- Self-Esteem Issues
The Straits Area Youth Advisory Council will begin using this list beginning with their current round of grants, which will be reviewed in January. The next opportunity for nonprofit organizations serving Cheboygan County and Mackinaw City to apply for funding from SAYAC is with the March 15, 2018 grant deadline. Applications can be found online at www.sacf.net.
“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 Lee. “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 Straits Area Youth Advisory Council, or to support this group of young philanthropists through donations, visit www.sacf.net.
The Straits Area 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 Cheboygan County and Mackinaw City, which will continue to benefit the Straits Area forever.