The LowCountry Alliance for Healthy Youth was established in February 2012 in response to numerous alcohol-related tragedies involving our youth in the recent past.
The initial meeting was organized by then school board member Julie Bell, Hilton Head High principal Amanda O’Nan and BCSD Superintendent of Student Services, Dr. Sean Alford. At this community conversation, Dr. Sean Alford, former Beaufort county School District Chief, urged the group to organize a coalition representing all sectors of the community including: schools, parents/parent organizations, law enforcement, government, faith-based organizations, civic organizations, youth/youth organizations, social service agencies, media, health care professionals, senior citizen organizations, and businesses. Phyllis Neville, Hilton Head parent, was asked by principal O’Nan to facilitate the development of the group.
LCAHY exists to bring together representation from the community sectors, identified above, to develop a comprehensive solution to preventing and reducing youth substance use/abuse and related risk behaviors by: (1) addressing the causes/conditions that put our youth at risk and (2) identifying protective factors that will prevent our youth from engaging in behaviors that negatively impact them.
A steering committee has been working to develop a coalition of members from all the sectors focusing on the Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, SC area. The steering committee is now the Executive Board for the organization.
Coalition Board Development:
The LCAHY continues working on developing the infrastructure needed for effective coalition development (Capacity Building), which includes identifying organizations/individuals to represent the community sectors on the Coalition Board. It is critical that the Coalition Board be involved in the development of the Coalition, have ownership, and work collaboratively in developing a comprehensive solution to our communities’ youth substance use/abuse problems. Public health goals and objectives for reducing youth substance use/abuse have been developed statewide and the LCAHY will have the opportunity to be part of the solution locally.
We are now in the process of developing a Strategic Plan which will have goals based on the 2014 CTC survey data. The goals will then give way to initiatives and campaigns to launch in the community that we serve. These data-driven goals will reach throughout our community into all the sectors representing our organization and making our entire community part of the solution for substance use and abuse.