New P.E.A.C.E. coalition aims to keep kids safe and healthy

Written by on February 1, 2013 in Local and National News - No comments

By Mike Graham-Squire
Neighborhood House
Southeast Seattle service providers and Aki Kurose Middle School staff have launched the SE Seattle P.E.A.C.E. Coalition (Prevention Education and Action for Community Empowerment) to ensure kids are safe, healthy and happy so they can learn.
The coalition will bring together all sectors of the community, including parents, students, business owners and religious leaders.
Aki Kurose Principal, Mia Williams is enthusiastic about the new coalition.
“Middle school is a great time to support students with positive decision making and life skills to ensure they succeed in school and in life,” Williams said.
“The P.E.A.C.E. Coalition will start working with kids at Aki and that will have a positive effect on the youth and families in SE Seattle,” she added.
The coalition is one of 35 communities statewide participating in the Prevention Redesign Initiative (PRI), funded by DSHS’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR). King County Department of Community and Human Services awarded Neighborhood House a five-year PRI grant to develop the coalition.
“Our goal in redesigning our state prevention services is to leverage enough resources in the highest-need communities to reduce substance abuse and the harm it causes,” said Chris Imhoff, DBHR Director. “Community leaders are prepared to use these resources to help more young people succeed.”
Seattle Public Schools and Therapeutic Health Services have also contributed funding. Puget Sound Educational Service District is collaborating by placing a full time Prevention and Intervention Specialist, Rayonna Tobin to work at Aki.
Ms. Tobin has already worked with many youth and families and has intervened to keep Aki students in school instead of being suspended.
Coalition Coordinator Liletha Williams said the aims of P.E.A.C.E. are two-fold.
“Keeping our youth drug and alcohol free will not only improve their health but also their academic performance. We invite everyone in Southeast Seattle who cares about our kids to get involved,” Liletha Williams said.
The Coalition meets monthly and is developing a strategic plan that will include multiple strategies to prevent youth drug abuse, reduce mental health problems and decrease youth violence. To join, contact Liletha Williams at 206-250-0853 or lilethaw@nhwa.org.

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