Kittitas County Medical Reserve Corps Starts Youth for Truth Men - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kittitas County Medical Reserve Corps Starts Youth for Truth Mentoring Program

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Kittitas County, WA - Imagine a prevention program that engages young adults to work with younger peers, to address whatever health issues and barriers that are occurring in our county – that’s Youth for Truth. The Kittitas County Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), operated under the Kittitas County Public Health Department (KCPHD), was awarded the 2014-2015 Challenge award through the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). With this grant, the Kittitas MRC is teaming up with the Kittitas County Community Network and Coalition and local school districts to implement the Youth for Truth mentoring program.

The Youth for Truth program is an expansion of a previous, successful, peer education program in Kittitas County called Teens Against Tobacco Use and Teens Against Pot Smoking.  The new program, Youth for Truth, will use the peer mentor program model to address topics beyond tobacco and marijuana prevention, including bullying prevention and other topics that may be facing our Kittitas County School aged youth.  “Every two years, our county receives data through the Healthy Youth Survey, which we can use to address students’ barriers to learning,” asserts Kasey Knutson, Kittitas MRC Unit Coordinator at KCPHD.
The program works by utilizing a school advisor in each school district.  That advisor recruits teenaged students within the school.  Those teens will become mentors and learn about presentation skills, advocacy skills, and the dangers of health issues like tobacco, marijuana, bullying, etc.  Those trained students then take that message into classrooms of younger students.  The mission state for Youth for Truth is “to educate youth about conquering problems that they may face, with a curriculum that will evolve as problems in the world change.”
“The impact older students have on younger students is far greater than adults have when speaking to youth.  For every teenager who becomes a trained mentor, that youth can reach 50 or more younger students with a health message,” states Ms. Knutson.
If you are interested in the Youth for Truth program and want to volunteer for the Kittitas Medical Reserve Corps or if you have any questions, please call the Kittitas County Public Health Department at 509-962-7515.