Polk County Collaborates with Local Partners for Community Listening Sessions on Youth Wellbeing

POLK COUNTY, Wisconsin, August, 18, 2023—Polk County, in collaboration with Clear Lake Lutheran Church, Amery School District, Luck School District, and St Croix Falls School District, is proud to announce a series of community listening sessions aimed at addressing the critical issue of youth substance use and overall wellbeing. These sessions are a direct response to the outcomes of the Community Meeting held on August 1st, which brought together stakeholders from across the county to devise strategies for the betterment of youth in Polk County.

With a deep commitment to the health and development of its young residents, Polk County is taking proactive steps to tackle the challenges associated with substance use, including vaping, marijuana, and alcohol. Recognizing that youth wellbeing is multi-faceted and requires a comprehensive approach, the county is utilizing a grant known as Drug Free Communities to fund this initiative. This grant focuses on primary prevention, targeting the root causes of substance use before it occurs, thereby building resilience and empowering communities.

“We know that one agency alone cannot adequately address the complex issue of youth substance,” said Helen Swanson, Director of Public Health. “If individuals and agencies across the county can join forces and share their perspectives, experiences, and knowledge; we can create significant and lasting community change. It is critical that youth, parents, and guardians share their insights at these listening sessions so together, we can better understand the current needs and develop effective solutions to improve the wellbeing of Polk County’s youth.”

The four identical community listening sessions are scheduled to take place from mid-September to early October. The listening sessions will take place in four locations to accommodate the diverse schedules of families in the community. The finalized dates are as follows:

  • Croix Falls School District Auditorium: September 19th, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Luck School District Auditorium: September 27th, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Clear Lake Lutheran Church: October 2nd, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Amery School District: To be confirmed.

Each listening session will follow a structured format, including participant sign-in and anonymous consent, introductions to set the context, group discussions around key questions, and collaborative discussions to identify trends and actionable items. The overarching goal is not only to gather valuable feedback but also to foster trust and establish strong working relationships with parents and youth, ensuring a collaborative approach in addressing the challenges faced by Polk County's youth.

Polk County highly encourages its youth (grades 6-12) to participate in these listening sessions, as well as all concerned parents, guardians, educators, and community members.