At the monthly meeting of the Newton County Community Coalition on Tuesday, members heard updates regarding an upcoming Youth Summit and a Youth Mental Health First Aide program.

At the monthly meeting of the Newton County Community Coalition on Tuesday, members heard updates regarding an upcoming Youth Summit and a Youth Mental Health First Aide program.

Luis Cecenas, DFC Coordinator reminded members that the end of the fiscal year falls on Sept. 29.

"We wanted to get as many things done as possible," Cecenas told the Coalition.

He shared information about two upcoming events.

"There are two events we have on the horizon to finish out our fiscal year," he said.

The first is a Youth Summit planned for Sept. 18.

"I will go out to the schools to get participation," Cecenas stated.

The second is a proposed Mental Health First Aid For Youth seminar. The day long course is slated to be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Sept. 24 at the Talkington Foundation/Kelly Club in Neosho. In order to hold the seminar, a minimum of 30 participants is required. Mental Health First Aid For Youth (YMHFA) is a public education program that introduces participants to unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents. The 8-hour course includes role-playing strategies and simulations. Those who attend will learn the core 5-step action plan to support youth developing signs and symptoms of mental illness or in an emotional crisis. The steps include assess for risk of suicide or harm, listen nonjudgmentally, give reassurance and information, encourage appropriate professional help, and encourage self-help and other support strategies. Those interested in registering for the program can call Luis Cecenas at 417-680-8945 or email him at

Cecenas cited upcoming goals for the coalition as gaining a 30 percent increase in sign-up sheets, to reduce alcohol use and drug use.

"We have a lot of work to do there," he stated.

Marlissa Diggs, representing The Alliance, provided an update on the ACT MO Mini Grant.

"The min-grant was for a peer to peer media competition contest between all the schools in Newton County who want to participate," Diggs said.

Youth in area junior and senior high schools will be encouraged to create their multi-media presentation on the effects of addiction on the young brain. Each team will create both a poster and a video for the competition. The winner will be determined on Dec. 5 during the Newton County Youth Challenge which will take place at the Elsie Plaster Center on the Crowder College campus in Neosho on Dec. 5. Judges will include four adults from the region and a youth judge from the winning team in the Carthage competition. The Shark Tank type competition will result in an overall winner and the school of that team will be encouraged to use their winning work.

Tal Clubbs, Tri-Way School counselor, provided information about an upcoming East Newton 5th Quarter Event slated for after the East Newton home game on Sept. 7. Clubbs said it's a community wide event for all ages The event is sponsored by East Newton United, an organization Clubbs said is similar to the Bright Futures program in Neosho.

Members received a 2017-18 Drug Free Communities Grant Activity. Upcoming dates of note for coalition members were also shared.

These dates include the annual Red Ribbon Week observed nationwide this year from Oct. 23-31. Red Ribbon Week is an annual campaign dedicated to awareness and prevention of alcohol, tobacco and drug and violence prevention. The 2018 theme is Life Is Your Journey, Travel Drug Free, created by a middle school student in Solon, Ohio.

A Drug Take Back event is scheduled for Oct. 27 in Neosho. Exact locations will be announced at a later date. A Suicide Town Hall meeting at Crowder College is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 15.