The Deschutes County Youth Committee launched in December 2018 with the goal to actively engage high school youth in substance use prevention in their community and specifically among their peers. The group encompasses eight Bend and Redmond youth from a mix of different high schools in the area. In January, youth members attended a two-day retreat, in conjunction with other teens from around the region. At the retreat they tackled issues related to advocacy, youth and adult partnerships, power mapping, action planning and team building. A big picture focus for this group is to educate youth on how to make widespread community impact for young people related to substance use. One way youth exercised their newly minted advocacy muscles was attending Oregon Public Health Association’s Capitol Visit Day in Salem in January. Youth prepared talking points related to local tobacco and vaping use, which they were able to share with Senator Knopp’s legislative assistant. In the coming months, the youth committee will focus on recruiting more members and staff will be planning a more sustainable infrastructure. If you’re interested in learning more or know a young person who may be interested in joining, please contact Lauren Wood ( 

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