Inspire Youth Connections partners with youth, youth-serving professionals, policy-makers, and community members with the vision of creating a community of resilient school-age children, teens, and young adults who are valued, respected, and supported by the communities in which they live, learn, work, and play. Our roadmap for building mental health and well-being among Boulder County adolescents and youth outlines this vision.
- Promote positive relationships between youth and caring adults
- Create a coordinated, informed youth service system
- Promote and implement the principles of Positive Youth Development throughout all systems that reach youth
- Encourage adult “upstanders” who are willing to take action on behalf of youth
- Advocate for school and community policies that ensure safe, inclusive and healthy environments for youth
- Provide technical assistance around a menu of evidence-based programs addressing youth protective and risk factors (including the Sources of Strength suicide prevention initiative)
- Ensure that points of contact with youth (e.g., physicians, coaches, teachers, etc.) are prepared to recognize signs of concern or crisis and respond appropriately
- Build community-wide cultural responsiveness and inclusion across the wide diversity of youth
- Work toward strategic coordination of youth-serving agencies in Boulder County
Sources of Strength in Boulder County
One of the key strategies in place in Boulder County is Sources of Strength, (SOS) a nationally recognized, evidence-based, best practice peer leadership program that uses the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture. The program is designed to prevent suicide, reduce bullying, decrease substance abuse, and enhance school bonding/engagement
Building Supportive Networks
SOS builds on the strengths of adolescent and young adult coping skills by increasing help-seeking behaviors and connections between peers and caring adults with a focus on hope, help, and strength. The program’s approach to youth suicide prevention moves beyond focusing only on risk factors to building multiple sources of support around young individuals so that when times get hard they have strengths to rely on.
The SOS program is currently implemented at:
- Fairview High School (implemented in the 2012-13 school year)
- Southern Hills Middle School, Boulder High School, Nederland Middle/Senior High School (implemented in the 2013-14 school year)
- Arapahoe Ridge High School (implemented in the 2014-15 school year).
- The Boulder County Public Health OASOS program, which provides support and advocacy for LGBTIQ youth in Boulder County
Funding for SOS
Funding support for SOS comes from: