Community Action, in partnership with the Communities That Care (CTC) and Strategic Planning Initiative For Families and Youth (SPIFFY) Coalitions, are preparing young people to lead policy change and promote community norms that reduce youth substance use. Policy and norm changes (or “environmental strategies”) are recognized as the most sustainable, most effective, and most powerful strategies for reducing substance use by making the healthy choice the easy choice.

The Pioneer Valley Youth Leadership Initiative aims to impact all young people (particularly middle and high school age youth) in Hampshire County, Franklin County, and the North Quabbin, with a particular focus on meeting the needs of young people at greatest risk of substance use. The youth taking on leadership roles in the youth groups will benefit directly from leadership development and training opportunities in the project and the larger youth population will benefit from changes to policy, practice, and social norms that are subsequently made in schools, towns, and community institutions that support our young people in making healthy decisions.