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A countywide initiative to involve area teenagers in enhancing community responses to youth issues will have its official launch on Friday, May 13, at Finger Lakes Community College.

Three years in the making, the grant-funded “With Youth For Youth” (WYFY) is a collaboration of youths and adults from area school districts, hospitals, faith-based and community organizations as well as local governments.

“Representatives of all of these stakeholders are joining together with a collective goal of promoting youth and adult partnerships so that together, they can effect community change,” says Thompson Health Senior VP of Strategic Initiatives Bonnie Ross, who will join other members of the collaborative in signing an official Statement of Commitment during a reception at Ontario County Complex Building 3019, Room 204-205,from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on the 13th.

On Saturday, May 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., With Youth For Youth will host a visioning event for youth and adults from Canandaigua, Geneva and Victor to offer quality of life strategies. This event follows “listening sessions” held in each of the communities during recent months, engaging first youth voices, then bringing youth and adults together to identify key steps communities can take to foster the well-being of our youth and a deeper recognition that youth are the future of our county.

“The gathering on Saturday is an opportunity to tap into the wisdom and insight of our youth as respected and talented members of our community,” said Ellie Fralick, a community activist and Thompson Health Board of Directors member who is part of the group spearheading the WYFY initiative.

Fralick noted that the collective vision resulting from Saturday’s sessions will be turned over to a With Youth For Youth team, which will serve as the vehicle for action.

For more information about how you can get involved in WYFY, contact Fralick at (585) 216-5130 or email ellief@rochester.rr.com.

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