Public Invited to Tuesday Meeting Geared Toward ‘Healthy Community, Healthy Youth’

Dr. Ben Neal, right, speaks with community members about nutrition during an event last fall. The community is invited to ‘What’s Up Doc,’ 5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday at White Rock Town Hall. Courtesy photo

COMMUNITY News:

Organizations will be on hand 5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday in the White Rock Town Hall to gather information and offer resources to the public to assist in achieving the goal of, “Healthy Community, Healthy Youth.” The open house style format allows community members to drop in for five minutes or the entire meeting. Attendees will be able to submit input or collect resources and get on their way.

Assets In Action, a program of the Juvenile Justice Advisory Board is hosting this community opportunity to provide input for youth needs in Los Alamos.

“Naturally, I feel that Assets are a major factor,” Assets Coordinator Bernadette Lauritzen said. “The more the community is engaged in youth, even in small, simple ways, goes to creating a community where all youth are supported and engaged.”

Assets has been working with doctors from the Los Alamos Children’s Clinic to offer a series of educational opportunities looking at the health of youth overall. This Tuesday takes that idea one step further.

“I think the community is really open and approachable right now,” Lauritzen said. “I would like to use this opportunity to allow them to suggest things that they think are working well and help identify things that need to be addressed along the way.”

Dr. Shelley P. Schoonover from the Children’s Clinic of Los Alamos will be available to answer questions about overall general help.

Often times key factors such as nutrition and sleep are major players to health on a much larger scale. Having access to resources and just knowing that things are available, are another way to help identify answers to problems, before they even arise, Lauritzen said.

Executive Director Laura Harrison of the New Mexico Suicide Prevention Coalition  will cover warning signs and have resources available for the community at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Often times we are teaching people how to recognize if someone in their life is feeling suicidal, and most of the time we never know if someone learned something or used the skills we taught in their life,” Harrison said. “Prevention is everyone’s job, and we get our reward in knowing that others are prepared to handle what can be a tough situation, and often times that means saving a life.”

Assets believes that helping all youth become resilient is the job of the entire community and the more people are engaged, the better, Lauritzen said.

“I still insist we have to focus on all aspects of youth and adults, too, for that matter,” she said. “We need to look at healthy eating, managing stress, mindfulness and the importance of getting enough sleep.”

Assets has engaged a variety of community programs and agencies to help those who live or work on the hill to know their community a little better. Los Alamos County, Los Alamos Public Schools, JJAB, Family Strengths Network, the local Public Health Office and the Betty Ehart Senior Center are just some of those reaching out to better the community as a whole.

Suggestions for other topic areas related to health that AIA and the Children’s Clinic could cover in the future also may be submitted Tuesday for consideration. Those who can not attend can submit their thoughts for community improvement ideas or topics at AssetsInAction@att.net or 505.695.9139.

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