Youth mentoring program begins in county

By Scott Halasz -

XENIA — YouthMOVE Ohio has moved into Greene County.

The youth-led organization that advocates against drug and alcohol abuse and works to improve services and systems to support youth inclusion and mental wellness has launched in Greeneview High School and hopes to expand into all county high schools to allow students to help each other.

The program was piloted through Greene County Family and Children First and partnered with Greene County Children Services Independent Living Program.

“We look to empower them and support them,” said program specialist Amy Wissman. “What we look to do is help get them out in the community. Help make people more aware of what the youth issues are.”

From domestic abuse to bullying to drug and alcohol addiction, juveniles can help each other.

“Kids take drugs to relieve stress,” said Greeneview student Molly Rubio, one of the school’s YouthMOVE council members along with Cameron Jackson. “That’s not the way to do it. But kids don’t know any better. There’s programs out there, but not too many people know about it.”

The program can also help in other as well, Wissman said. One example would be kids who were in the juvenile justice system talking to police about what was effective during the process, and what wasn’t.

“It’s about leadership,” Wissman said. “Finding youth … that have come through it and want to lend their voice.”

Currently YouthMOVE is in around 23 or 24 counties, Wissman said. The goal is to be in all. Locally and ideally, each high school would have a leadership council of one or two students. Others can become members and help in various ways.

Several community-awareness activities are planned for the fall including a booth at the Jamestown Bean Festival, a car at the county’s trunk or treat, and a food drive around the holidays.

Funding for the program comes from the county mental health board and YouthMOVE. For more information, contact Wissman at 937-562-5602.

By Scott Halasz

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.