Office on Youth, Community Foundation leading comprehensive effort to address youth challenges

The Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth is looking to engage the community in an effort to address challenges facing youth in Waynesboro, Staunton and Augusta County.

The Office on Youth, in partnership with the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, is building toward the creation of working groups to include parents, youth, and community stakeholders from the public, private, and nonprofits sectors, who are interested in working together to tackle challenges faced by local youth.

This effort will draw from the Youth Needs Assessment, completed in December, which included a survey of more than 5,000 parents, community members and stakeholders.

The top five areas noted as “big concerns” by more than 50 percent of those surveyed include social media, drug/alcohol use, peer pressure, bullying and obesity.

The Youth Community Needs Assessment also included reviews of demographic and health data that point to significant local concerns with poverty and food insecurity, truancy, teen pregnancy, depression and suicide.

The Office on Youth and the Community Foundation are planning a community meeting for later this year to launch the working groups.

If you are interested in participating, contact Joy Stultz, Grants Manager at the Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth, at (540) 942-6757 or

You can access the Youth Community Needs Assessment here.

Parent Project Enrollment Still Open!

Class Starts September 29.  Call 942-6757 to register now!

Education coordinator for Office on Youth has passion for working with kids

josh muttersJoshua Mutters has a passion for helping children work through their tough times.

“I feel like there’s a great need for people to work with children on improving on their deficiencies. For a lot of children, we’re the only help they can get,” said Mutters, the educational support coordinator for the Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth.

Mutters oversees two Office on Youth programs. The Pathway program provides high school students who have been suspended for 10 or more days or who have been expelled from school the opportunity to work in a classroom and be positively engaged during a portion of regular school hours.

“Pathway is a good way for students facing these situations to not fall behind,” Mutters said. “When a student is suspended or expelled and thus out of school for a long period of time, they can easily fall behind, and it can be hard for them to catch up. We bridge that gap. We’re here to make sure that they can focus on completing their schoolwork so that they can stay on path.”

The One Child at a Time program is a free tutoring service offered to students in grades 9-12. Tutoring is offered in the evenings Monday-Thursday with volunteers matched up with students in need of tutoring help.

The OCAT program is currently searching for additional volunteer tutor help, Mutters said, to be able to accommodate the demand from the local school systems for tutoring services.

Mutters is finishing up his first month on the staff at the Office on Youth.

“Everyone at the Office on Youth really works together,” he said. “It’s a great team atmosphere. There are many different programs, but it’s one, cohesive unit.”

– Story by Chris Graham

Town hall meeting on dangers of marijuana use set for Dec. 8

The Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth is hosting a town hall meeting on the dangers of marijuana use on Tuesday, Dec. 8, from 6-8 p.m. at Wilson Middle School in Fishersville.

The event is being offered to raise awareness about the effects of marijuana on youth in our community. Several speakers will address local conditions, effects of marijuana on the brain and there will be local agencies on hand to provide information on how and where to get help.

For more information, contact Keri Jones at (540) 332-3806 or

Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth hosts Project Sticker Shock event in Staunton

The Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth is hosting a Project Sticker Shock event on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 9 a.m. at its Staunton office, Nelson Street Teen Center, 900 Nelson Street, Staunton.

Project Sticker Shock is a community awareness program designed to prevent people 21 and older from purchasing alcohol and providing it to underage individuals. Participants involved in Project Sticker Shock visit partnering stores and place stickers with a warning message about the penalties for providing alcohol to anyone under 21 and using a fake ID to purchase alcohol.

By contributing in this event, citizens throughout the state are taking a proactive stand against underage drinking and its related problems. Project Sticker Shock also seeks to increase visibility and compliance of Virginia underage drinking laws.

For more information, contact Keri Jones at (540) 332-3806 or

GAPP notes successful Drug Take Back Day

greater augusta prevention partners.cdrGreater Augusta Prevention Partners applauds the Waynesboro Police Department for collecting 559.6 pounds of old or unwanted pharmaceuticals on national Drug Take Back Day this past Sept. 26.  This is the most ever collected by the Police Department at a single event.

Not only was this the biggest collection of unwanted prescription drugs by the Waynesboro Police, but the department ranked second in their district, following Albemarle County, for the most prescription drugs collected.  More astonishing is the fact that the Waynesboro Police Department ranked 10th in the State regardless of population for the most prescription drugs collected.

The amount of drugs collected is not a representation of the availability of prescription drugs in our community but rather a representation of the prevention work done by Waynesboro Police.  Too often the positive prevention work done by the Police Department is lost among the headline news of criminal activity.

In President Barack Obama’s weekly address for September 26, he states why Drug Take Back Day is so important. “Here’s why this matters.  More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than they do in car crashes.  And most of those deaths aren’t due to drugs like cocaine or heroin – but rather prescription drugs.  In 2013 alone, overdoses from prescription pain medications killed more than 16,000 Americans.  And most young people who begin misusing prescription drugs don’t buy them in some dark alley – they get them from the medicine cabinet.”

Promotion of the event, collaboration with Greater Augusta Prevention Partners, and volunteers made this event a success.  Flyers, Facebook postings, and email alerts were used to educate the public about the event.  For more information on GAPP visit or contact Keri Jones at the Office on Youth at 540-332-3806.

We’re hiring!

Are you looking for a rewarding part-time position where you would be able to work with youth?  Do you have experience working with kids or in a classroom setting?  We would love to hear from you!

Apply here

Parent Project Cancelled Tonight

We have decided to cancel tonight’s Parent Project class in Stuarts Draft due to possible flooding.  If you have questions, please call our office at 942-6757.  Thank you!  Be safe!

Classes are cancelled tonight

Due to the heavy rain and flash flooding, we have decided to cancel out Love and Logic parenting class. The OCAT tutoring program will close at 5:00 this evening. If you have questions, please call us at 540-942-6757 (8:00-5:00).
Thank you!

Let’s be the Influence to be focus of town hall meeting on underage drinking

greater augusta prevention partners.cdrGreater Augusta Prevention Partners and the Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth are hosting a town hall meeting on underage drinking that will be held on Thursday, Aug. 20, at Wilson Middle School.

Speakers at the town hall meeting include Anne F. Reed, a local juvenile justice attorney, Derek Almarode from the Augusta County Sheriff’s office, and more.

The event, part of the Let’s be the Influence campaign from GAPP and the Office on Youth, is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. The public is invited.

The town hall meeting is aimed at bringing the community together around the issue of underage drinking. Participants can learn about what is being done about underage drinking and the pressures youth face to drink.

Light dinner served at 5:30 p.m. Childcare and children’s activities provided.

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