CONCORD, NH (PRESS RELEASE) — Coös County high school students have launched the 2018 “Empower Coös Youth” public awareness campaign — the fourth in a series — to engage community members in conversations about values, activities and resources that create positive school and community experiences for Coös youth.
The campaign includes inserts for local newspapers, a social media campaign inspired by “Humans of New York,” a suite of t-shirts, and a website with a digital archive of personal stories written by 115 students from high schools throughout the North Country. Campaign materials will be distributed throughout the region beginning in April.
In creating the campaign, students examined results from the Coös Youth Study, a longitudinal research project conducted by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. The study is funded in part by the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the National Science Foundation.
“This entire 2018 campaign — from the imagery to the messaging to distribution of materials — was developed by Coös students looking for new ways to engage in conversation with their parents, teachers, and community leaders,” said Sasha Tracy, Empower Coös Youth project coordinator for the Tillotson Fund.
The “Empower Coös Youth” campaign is an opportunity share important findings from nearly 10 years of research about Coös youth. The campaign will encourage youth, families, and civic and community leaders to read the research, discuss the challenges and strengths it reveals, and consider innovative ways to engage and support youth in the region. The campaign’s website, www.empowerCoösyouth.com, includes recommendations for students, parents, and educators.
“Youth involved in the project feel like North Country celebrities, and it draws attention to the great things happening in our schools and communities,” said Christina Asher, who is a senior at Groveton High School and has been involved with the Empower Coös Youth project for three years.
Now in its 10th and final year, the Coös Youth Study has gathered data on the attitudes, aspirations, and experiences of Coös youth — exploring family, school, and community relationships, attachment to the Coös region, and educational and career goals. Among the Coös Youth Study’s findings is that community connectedness correlates with a variety of positive outcomes for youth. Complete findings are available at http://carsey.unh.edu/policy/Coös-youth-study.
“When kids do well and are supported by adults in their lives, they have the opportunity to thrive and become adults who positively contribute to and improve their communities,” said Kirsten Scobie, director of Tillotson Funds at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. “We hope that the data from this study will be used widely by youth, teachers, parents, administrators and communities in their efforts to help all young people flourish.”
While youth in Coös County are engaged in their communities, the research shows that despite such participation, many feel their voices are muted, and their ideas or perspectives are not heard by adults. Because the quality of young people’s interactions with adults is so critical to social and emotional development, this campaign seeks to help young people’s voices be heard.
The Empower Coös Youth public awareness campaign will sunset this spring when the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund launches a youth-led grantmaking program, continuing its commitment to engage youth and implement recommendations from the Coös Youth Study. To learn more about this program or to nominate a student to serve on the grants committee, please visit: www.nhcf.org/tillotson.
About the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is New Hampshire’s statewide community foundation, founded in 1962 by and for the people of New Hampshire. The Foundation manages a growing collection of 1,900 funds created by generous individuals, families and businesses, and awards more than $40 million in grants and scholarships every year. The Foundation works with generous and visionary citizens to maximize the power of their giving, supports great work happening in our communities and leads and collaborates on high-impact initiatives. For more information, please visit www.nhcf.org or call 603-225-6641.