Center for Youth and Community Development Celebrates 20 Years

If you, your child, or another member of your family or your community is struggling with substance abuse or other psychological problems, or if you are hoping to enroll in programs that might prevent these issues from developing, the Adams County Center for Youth and Community Development (CFYCD) may be able to help out.

CFYCD is celebrating 20 years of working with partner organizations, volunteers, and other community members to develop the positive potential of youth within safe, supportive families and communities.

The nonprofit center is home to a collaborative board of community members and organizations, Collaborating for Youth (CFY), that focuses on developing the potential of youth & families by inspiring positive life choices.

CFYCD Staff, Members, and Volunteers

CFYCD, housed at 233 W. High Street in Gettysburg, coordinates community offerings including after school programs and substance abuse prevention efforts.

“We are a group of citizens and volunteers sitting together at the table. Our mission is youth development and safe communities,” said CFYCD’s Executive Officer Andrea Dolges. We’ve reduced the risk factors for substance abuse over the course of our 20 years and increased the protective measures in our children’s lives.”

Collaborating for Youth provides a sense of community,” said Michelle Kern, CFYCD’s Development and Coalition Coordinator. “It’s interesting to see how people help each other.”

After School Programs

The 21st Century After School Program Director Sami Slusser coordinates the CFYCD after school program. This evidence based program helps supplement the school day by allowing students to explore different topics and get homework help.

“Every middle and elementary school in Adams County offers a free after school program,” said Kern. “There are 19 sites, with over 500 kids.” A focus of the program is on STEM subjects, but children can also do their homework or just read a book. There are no income requirements to attend this program.”

“The program keeps kids busy in those in-between hours. That’s a dangerous time for potential juvenile delinquency,” said Kern.

The CFYCD program is funded in part by a Nita M. Lowery 21st Century Community Learning Center Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

Overdose Awareness Task Force

Kern coordinates the Overdose Awareness Task Force that coordinates activities with the goal of reducing overdose deaths in the county. The task force provides support to these community members, letting them know they are not alone.

Formed to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic in the area, the task force’s vision is “Education. Support. Saving Lives.”

Kern said CFY’s programs are based on data collected about Adams County children through the PAYS PA Youth Survey, which is administered every other year in each county school district to 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders.

The data gathered in PAYS provides information concerning changes in use and abuse of harmful substances and assesses risk factors related to these behaviors and the protective factors that can help guard against them.

Youth Coalition

The CFCDY Youth Coalition works to reduce substance abuse and create a healthy environment for youth in Adams County. This year, the students are working on positive messaging campaigns in their schools.

Supported by a team of adult mentors, and directed by CFYCD staff member Nate Sterner, the Youth Coalition carries out strategies to reduce underage drinking and prevent medicine abuse.

Other CFYCD Projects

Other ongoing projects at the center include the
Strengthening Families Program 10-14 that helps parents protect and empower their children through communication of family values, standards regarding substance use, and hopes for their child’s future.

The program is a two-hour skill building program for families with children between 10 and 14 that is held in Gettysburg and Biglerville. For more information on how to get your family involved, contact Annika Kelly [email protected]

The program is recognized as evidence based program by many national agencies, including the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency, the US Department of Education, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Familias Fuertes is a Spanish language version of the Strengthening Families Program 10-14.

Collaborating For Youth also partners with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Incredible Years, TrueNorth, Youth Advocate Program, Gettysburg College, Healthy Adams County, and local businesses to provide evidence based programs and support.

CFYCD hosts town hall meetings, participates in national youth leadership seminars, and works with local legislators on youth and substance abuse prevention issues.

Collaborating for Youth was founded 1999 by founding director Sharron Michels out of a desire on the part of community residents and leaders to make community-wide changes to improve the lives and futures of youth in Adams County.

The coalition includes members from schools, churches, government, not for profits, health care, parents and interested citizens. Most importantly, CFY includes youth voices.

“It’s super fun. I don’t think I’ve ever loved doing anything so much. We have a great community here in Adams County, said Dolges.

“Collaborating for Youth is making Gettysburg a better place to live,” said Kern.

CFYCD is always interested in matching volunteers with ways to make a difference in the community.

Contact CFYCD:

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 717-338-0300

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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