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$240K Grant Will Help ATCAA Grow Youth Development Initiatives

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Sonora, CA — ATCAA will receive $240,000 to expand its successful Friday Night Live youth initiatives.

In response to an increasing number of students struggling with mental health challenges, members of the California Friday Night Live Partnership (which covers 50 of the state’s 58 counties), were challenged through a grant process to come up with ways to expand and strengthen their programs in tandem with local county schools.

Friday Night Live (FNL) is focused on substance use prevention, and helps students foster leadership, communication and relationship-building skills. The programs also focus on social-emotional learning best practices.

The Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency already has FNL chapters at Summerville, Sonora and Gold Rush High Schools, and similar programs for younger students at Gold Rush Country School.

With the new revenue, ATCAA hopes to establish 10 more chapters, including a countywide FNL Youth Council and FNL Mentoring.

Schools that are interested in participating may contact Youth Development Programs Coordinator Tori Bors at tbors@atcaa.org and/or Prevention Programs and YES Partnership Director Bob White at rwhite@atcaa.org.

Yes Partnership Director White says, “Poor mental health has become an epidemic among youth across the country and continues to worsen in rural areas like Tuolumne County, which already exceeds the statewide average for youth depression, anxiety, suicide ideation and substance use — so this grant could not have come at a better time.”

ATCAA Executive Director Joe Bors adds, “The new funding allows us to enhance our already strong partnership with local schools. It provides more positive youth development opportunities and supportive campus and youth activities that are consistent with our mission to promote the well-being of our youth and their families, enabling them to thrive.”

Summerville High 2023 graduate Audrey Patey, who also serves as Tuolumne County’s representative on the FNL California Youth Council (CYC) adds, “As a student I wanted to be more involved in my community while also pushing forward positive changes in my school as well as the county and Friday Night Live was just the club to help me accomplish those goals and more. Not only does it encourage students to be in touch with their community but also provides fun and educational activities that empower students and advocate for healthy lifestyles whether that be supporting positive relationships or discouraging substance abuse. I am very grateful to still be involved with this wonderful organization.”

ATCAA notes that it also plans to hire three full-time Youth Development Program staff members in July.

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