About 100 representatives from the Enumclaw, Buckley and Black Diamond communities attended Thursday’s fourth Enumclaw Regional Healthcare Foundation Health Summit at Thunder Mountain Middle School.
The afternoon’s early session featured the Rainier Foothills Community Health Network and the progress its task forces have made in the past months.
Each task force came from suggestions at previous Health Summits and concentrate on specific areas of need in the Foothills communities.
“We want to honor the hard work the four task forces have done,” ERHF President Kaylee Garrett said.
Access to Information
The Access to Information Task Force took the opportunity to launch its AskFLIN website.
In December 2009, a task force was formed to create an electronic public health and human service information data base that provides easy access for Foothills residents to local and statewide services. The AskFLIN website is the result of the Information Task Force’s commitment to creating “healthy communities.”
Community members can now go to www.askflin.com and find information in areas like abuse, adoption, assisted living, education, health, parenting, fitness, religious and support groups.
Also coming out of an earlier Summit, the Rainier Foothills Community Health Network launched its Mental Health Task Force two months ago.
“I think we can be an example for the rest of the state,” said Linda Carter, a member of the task force who also represents Out of the Ashes Ministries.
Carter said she joined the task force for personal reasons.
“I lost a son to mental illness so this is something I’m very passionate about,” Carter said.
She said the task force hopes the community will embrace talking about a hard subject and make a commitment to making a difference.
“It takes a community to help mental health.”
Drug and Alcohol Task Force
The Drug and Alcohol Task Force was also formed in 2009, and has been running at full force since. Aaron Stanton, Student Support Services coordinator for the Enumclaw School District, presented statistics from the White River and Enumclaw school district’s 2008 and 2010 Healthy Youth Survey.
Both White River and Enumclaw students in sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grade take the anonymous survey every two years.
Stanton challenged the audience and the community to decide if they thought the statistics he presented were acceptable, and if not, what they were going to do about them.
Thirty-nine percent of WRSD and 40 percent of ESD 12th grade students reported using alcohol in the past month. Is that acceptable? Stanton posed.
• 14 percent of WRSD and 12 percent of ESD seniors reported drinking heavily at least once in the past two weeks. Is that acceptable?
• 22 percent of 12th graders report having ridden with a driver who has been drinking. 11 percent have driven after drinking? Is that acceptable?
• 19 percent of WRSD and 26 percent of ESD seniors reported using marijuana in the past month? Is that acceptable?
• 5 percent of WRSD and 3 percent of ESD eighth graders reported using methamphetamines at least once? Is this acceptable?
• 97 percent of our sixth graders feel that adults in their neighborhood think its wrong for them to drink alcohol; 65 percent of 12th graders said the same thing? Is that acceptable?
He said: What are we telling Plateau youth about drug and alcohol use? What are they hearing? What do we tolerate? What will we insist upon? What do we want for our kids? What are we willing to do to make it a reality?
The Drug and Alcohol Task Force has been making the same presentation to civic organizations, churches and business in the area.
LINCCK Task Force
More than a decade ago, the Domestic Violence Task Force was formed. In 2010, in an effort to be more proactive in preventing violence, it morphed into the Linking Civility, Compassion and Kindness Task Force.
In its former form, one of its highlights was the Task Force was able to secure a domestic advocate for the court system here.
LINCCK hosted its own information night in June, then rallied around National Night Out. The group will be joining the Rachel’s Challenge movement and focusing on October as Domestic Violence awareness month.
The Health Summit also provided the platform for the community launch of Rachel’s Challenge.
Rachel Scott was the first person killed at Colorado’s Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Her challenge, presented through her family, is to make permanent, positive changes in schools and communities by starting a chain reaction with acts of kindness and compassion.
“I’m very excited to be a part of what’s happening in your schools and community,” said J.B. Braden, who spoke on behalf of the challenge at the Summit.
Braden also spoke to school district staff in the morning and by afternoon, Superintendent Mike Nelson said his e-mail was filling up with notes filled with words like “impact” and “inspiration.”
At the Summit, he encouraged community leaders to jump on board.
“Join us and lead a movement of kindness and compassion across the Plateau,” Nelson said.
During his presentation, Braden asked those in attendance to accept five challenges:
1. Look for the best in others, eliminate prejudice.
2. Dream Big. Write Goals. Keep a Journal.
3. Choose positive influences.
4. Speak with kindness. Words have power to hurt or heal.
5. Tell five people near you you love them and start your own chain reaction.
Those in attendance left with an armful of paper strips to record acts of kindness and posters promoting the program. Each act of kindness recorded on a slip will become part of a paper chain. Braden noted one community put together 1 million acts of kindness for a 28-mile chain.
“I think it’s awesome our entire community is getting involved,” EHS student Michelle McKinley said.
Live To Forgive Ministries leader Dean Smith asked those who run businesses to use Rachel’s Challenge to “change the talk around the water cooler.”
Presentations are planned for each of the districts schools. Elementary and middle school presentations will be different than the high school program, but all carry the same message.
The community is invited to its own presentation at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 22 in the EHS auditorium.
Links are due March 2 with the Rachel’s Rally set for March 6.
More information is available at rachelschallenge.org or facebook.com/RachelsChallenge.