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Community Leaders collaborate on solving Valley problems

"You're here, so you're a leader in the community," says Debby Peterman of the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network. The network, SVCN, hosted a gathering of more than 100 such community leaders on Monday, Aug. 8, to identify and tackle some of the Valley's challenges.

The Key Leaders Summet met at the Meadowbrook Farm Interpretive Center and, after a brief introduction, participants were invited to propose discussion items.

"We wanted members of the community to identify the topics that they were passionate about," Peterman explained.

Actually, network staff wanted a whole lot more. By the end of the summit, they hoped to have community-created and member-driven plans of action to address all, or at least most of the issues identified.

After listing their topics, participants were asked to group the topics by category and then break into small discussion groups on these categories.

A couple of the categories, like the group focused on the community's youth, were large enough to sub-divide into more specific categories, fun activities, positive messages, drug abuse and suicide prevention, and safety issues. Others focused on only one or two topics, such as job creation and economic development, homelessness and affordable housing, integrating already existing Valley services, and school funding.

Proposed solutions included, for nearly every issue, communication and networking, but other issues needed more specific action: identifying the people who might need referrals to Valley services; hosting a Valley job fair, tentatively set for Saturday, Nov. 5); more and better parent support and education; and stronger enforcement of schools' anti-drug and alcohol policies, a prevention specialist staff member in the Riverview School District, and active random drug searches at school.

A student from the drug-abuse prevention group presented his group's action plan also said that students just needed to get the message that "Not everyone at Mount Si, not everyone in the Valley, does drugs."

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