Community leaders gather to discuss mentorship programs, community engagement

Community leaders across Elizabethton and Carter County have been gathering at Elizabethton Parks and Recreation for much of this week, coming together to talk, strategize and analyze about how to improve their communities in the best way possible.

The gathering is part of a three-day conference with the National Recreation and Park Association, as part of federal grant money Carter County received towards forming a mentorship program with the county’s youth.

“We are providing training amidst the opioid crisis,” Health Director of NRPA Allison Colman said. “We want to make sure youth are being supported.”

Leaders from many different areas of the community have been in attendance, including representatives from Carter County Drug Prevention, the Elizabethton/Carter County Library, city and county schools and Red Legacy Recovery.

“This really needs to be a cross-sector collaboration,” she said. “The ultimate goal is to have positive relationships between youth and adults.”

This holistic approach, she said, serves to change the culture in which today’s youth reside, and by fostering better relationships, youth might have less of a need to turn to substance abuse to cope.

The grant is a three-year program, and this three-day training week will help community leaders determine the best approach towards creating such a mentorship program. While Colman provides them with a blueprint to work off of, the finer details are up to Carter County.

Colman said Carter County is one of five areas in the Appalachia region to receive this grant program.

“A lot of what we have heard here is similar to other areas,” she said. “They have shared challenges.”

On Wednesday, she said some children came to speak on their experiences with programs already in effect by organizations such as CCDP, and Colman said that was one of her favorite parts of this program.

“They want to make this community a better place,” Colman said. “I want local leaders to understand how important this work is.”

She said the community has until September of 2021 to match 20 students with 20 community mentors in order to remain in the grant program.

“Local communities drive solutions,” she said. “It is about engaging that community voice. They are the future of this community.”

SportsPlus

BREAKING NEWS

Escaped inmate charged with murder in connection with disappearance of Victor Birchfield

Local news

Council hears complaints about LED lighting, cruise-in confusion

Local news

City OKs on-premises beer permit for ‘pub bar’ at pickleball facility

Local news

Man seeking asylum charged with fraud, financial exploitation of Carter woman

Local news

Senator Bill Hagerty endorses Renea Jones for TN House District 4

Community

Senior Center Schedule

Local news

The Crumley House Polynesian Beach Party rapidly approaching

Local news

U.S. House passes bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote in federal races

Community

Upcoming events in area

Community

Deloach Reunion planned August 3

Local news

New pump coming for Franklin Pool, which could reopen within weeks

Local news

KCCB plans cleanup event for Milligan Highway

Church News

Church Briefs

Church News

Buffalo Ridge Baptist Church celebrates 245th anniversary

Local news

New device at JCFD enhances firefighter safety

Community

Montgomery Family Reunion set for July 13

Local news

June home sales in a slump, prices flat

Local news

Kingsport Fun Fest’s Hot Air Balloon Glow planned July 26

Church News

The Great Physician

Local news

ETSU faculty, student publish editorial on misinformation

Local news

Alliance sounds alarm on rising weapons cost, tax burden

Arrests

Johnson City man arrested for aggravated assault

Local news

Voters still have decisions to make as early voting begins Friday

Local news

Jones outpaces Alexander thus far in fundraising, spending in state House GOP primary