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Local leaders discuss community wellness

For the first time since the formation of the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network (SVCN) more than 10 years ago, community leaders of the Snoqualmie Valley came together to discuss community wellness.

Sponsored by SVCN, the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, Encompass and the Mount Si Senior Center, a "Key Leaders Breakfast Summit" was held Aug. 11 at the Salish Lodge. Nearly 40 participants, including all four local mayors, state Reps. Glenn Anderson and Jay Rodne, police chiefs, local business and school leaders and faith community representatives engaged in the summit.

The event featured Kevin Haggerty of the University of Washington, Social Development Research Group. Haggerty provided key leaders with a science-based framework for promoting healthy development, and updated leaders on data from the "Healthy Youth Surveys" conducted every two years through both Riverview and Snoqualmie Valley school districts The group then engaged in dialogue on ways to increase the overall health of the community.

Common themes arising from those discussions were increasing parenting skills and support, promoting programs that are proven effective, providing more support as students transition into middle and high school, promotion of a broad range of local programs and activities and an additional focus on prevention prior to the 10th grade, when students report an increase in problem behaviors.

Funding for the event was provided through a federal SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) Drug Free Communities Grant and the State Family Policy Council to the SVCN. Participants came away with information about investing public funding in programs that are proven effective. The SVCN staffs the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, which involves all sectors in the community in planning and promoting activities and programs that improve healthy behaviors.

Participants will meet again in the spring when this year's Healthy Youth Survey results are released. In the meantime, the coalition hosting the summit will convene additional community conversations to update needs and resources assessments to guide decisions in funding and resource allotment to promote wellness in the community.

More information regarding the event, including photos, may be found at www.snoqualmievalleycommunitynetwork.org or by calling the Snoqualmie Valley Community Network at (425) 333-6614.

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