The Belgrade Youth Forum is looking to talk with parents about some of the pressures facing their children, and hopes such a meeting will spur similar dialogues in homes across the city.
The forum has been operating for more than a year and was set up by Belgrade City Judge Michele Snowberger to address the challenges facing at-risk kids in the city. The group has many stakeholders operating in several areas, from the school district to various non-profits and government agencies.
A next step for the forum is to host a “house party” at the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce next week to discuss a variety of issues, said organizer Shelly Colvin, a social worker for the Gallatin City-County Health Department.
“It’s really to talk about risky behaviors and talking early between parents and kids,” Colvin said of the meeting. “It will about relationships, body parts, alcohol, drugs, risky behaviors and all of that stuff. The house party curriculum brings parents together to really start that conversation and make people comfortable enough to bring back to their own homes.”
The key to helping kids make wise choices comes from parents, Colvin said. And one of the purposes of the forum is to bring parents together to talk over issues. But sometimes that can be difficult.
“The hardest thing is getting the community involved,” she said.
Discussions and meetings with outside speakers have shown that drug use and risky behavior is alive and well in the schools, she said. And focusing on community as a whole is a good way to address those ills in close-knit settings like people’s homes.
“You’re talking about subjects that not a lot of people are comfortable with talking to everybody about,” Colvin said. “We definitely know as a community that there’s a lot of things at-risk those kiddos are dealing with.”
The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, June 30 at the Chamber building, 10 E. Main, Belgrade.