CASTLETON — The results of a Vermont Youth Project survey conducted in October will be presented at Castleton University’s Casella Theater on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m.
The Vermont Youth Project is an initiative of Vermont Afterschool, a nonprofit that ensures access to “high-quality out-of-school time programs” for youth around the state.
Rutland and Fair Haven are two of six Vermont communities chosen by VYP to participate in the initiative, which is “designed to boost positive youth development and protective factors on the local level.”
Rutland City Public School and Slate Valley Unified District students in grades seven through 12 took part in the anonymous, voluntary survey, which asked them questions about school, community, peers, home life and substance abuse.
The survey is based on a model developed by the Icelandic Center for Social Research and Analysis. According to Chris Hultquist, executive director for the Mentor Connector, Vermont is the first state in the country to implement this five-year pilot project. The Mentor Connector is the VYP community lead for Rutland.
Initial data released by VYP in December offers several takeaways: substance abuse is “relatively high, particularly cannabis use;” parental and caregiver support and monitoring is “generally high,” but collaboration is “relatively low;” there is a “culture of acceptance” around alcohol and cannabis; and youth have “a lot of free time and lack of unstructured activities” outside of school.
Hultquist said the presentation will synthesize survey data which will then be used as a framework for developing strategies and action plans for engaging youth, parents and caregivers and communities over the next several months.
Hultquist said all members of the community are invited to Wednesday’s presentation, including parents, youth, educators, legislators, and law enforcement officials. Childcare will be available at Castleton Village School.