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Mountain Youth and Eagle County Schools Expand Collaboration

Collaborative grant funding brings teacher training

Being young isn’t easy. The halcyon days we remember might just be a thing of the past. But Mountain Youth and Eagle County Schools (ECS) are ensuring pressures don’t add up to feelings of despair in young people through the expansion of social emotional learning into the younger grades.

Climax Molybdenum Company, a subsidiary of Freeport-McMoRan, through its Climax-Area CIF, provided funding that will ultimately impact every elementary student in Eagle County Public Schools.

Thanks to this collaborative grant between Eagle County Schools and Mountain Youth, teachers will be trained in “WhyTry” and “Botvin LifeSkills”—part of a comprehensive wellness and prevention plan that ultimately helps young people thrive in school and beyond.

“It’s these partnerships that create a stronger community. Helping youth with coping and resiliency skills from a young age builds strong emotional connections and promotes healthy risk taking,” says Mikayla Curtis, Mountain Youth’s manager of strategic impact. “Learning these skills in elementary school will help youth practice and retain them as they develop. With the comprehensive prevention plan that we’re working on, these skills will be a foundation that will be built upon later in middle and high school through additional resiliency and life skills programs.”

ECS integrates state Health Standards, which provide students the platform to build skills around social emotional wellness, explains Candace Eves, ECS prevention specialist. These efforts have existed for many years, however, there is a need to have additional evidenced-based or research-based curricula for teachers. For youth, this means teachers have curricula they feel they can implement in their classrooms on a daily basis—no special assembly required. These skills will impact the student over their educational career at ECS.

Most secondary schools already provide Botvin Lifeskills and/or Why Try to their students. Expanding these programs into elementary school is a natural progression since children who can cope have the tools to overcome internal pressures, peer pressure and life circumstances that may impact their health. Additionally, thanks to this funding teachers will be able to receive one-on-one coaching and follow up support from Mountain Youth facilitators.

“Individual and family skills taught through in-school programs and the Eat Chat Parent series reinforce social emotional development across the community and create a place where youth thrive,” Curtis says.

This isn’t the first time Climax Molybdenum Company has partnered to create a better tomorrow for youth. The organization is dedicated to supporting communities where its employees live.

“Working in collaboration with a range of committed community partners, we’re continuing to focus on empowering citizens through opportunities to acquire a broad range of skills, education and leadership in order to foster community resilience and transformation that leads to sustainability,” said Tracy Bame, President, Freeport-McMoRan Foundation.

The Climax-Area CIF was established in 2011 to focus on programs and projects that help create sustainability and reduce dependency on any single industry. Since starting in 2011, the Climax-Area Community Investment Fund has invested over $3.3 million in locally identified projects affecting positive change in the community priority areas identified by CPP members.

If you have a child in elementary school, ask them what worries them… then ask them what skills they’ve learned to better cope. Mountain Youth and ECS want to keep the learning happening at home, so families can work through challenges youth may face, together.

Mountain Youth was founded in 2001 and has grown over the decades. The demand for programs increases every year: in 2019, Mountain Youth engaged 15,377 residents, creating a safe place for conversation, giving young people a voice, providing accurate information and creating a community where all youth thrive.

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