Prevention coalitions from across Southwest Washington gathered with community members and elected officials to honor volunteers and partners earlier this month at Vancouver’s Marshall Center Community Park.

Each of the nine partnering coalitions from Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties recognized volunteers with certificates of appreciation for their contributions to community prevention projects over the previous school year.

Recipients included:

  • Prevent Coalition: Kathy McNicholas and Madison Langer.
  • Connect Evergreen: Randy Dewater and Connect Evergreen youth volunteers including Ryan Dewater, Riley Dewater, Oliver Neves, Abigayle DeJesus-Wood, Wyatt, Lindsey.
  • Central Vancouver: Fort Vancouver High School MEChA and Fort Vancouver High School LULAC.
  • KLASAC: Kirsten Poole and Joshua Bautista.
  • La Center United: Kate Soske and Wyatt Manwell.
  • One Prevention Alliance: Riley Hershberger and Colleen Wahto.
  • Our Klickitat: Marisa Cieloha and Rita Pinchot.
  • Prevent Together Battle Ground Prevention Alliance: Battle Ground High School Administrative Team including Principal Charb Gourde, Erick Suksdorf, Scott Yingling and Heather Ichimura as well as Jonathan Haukaas, editor of the Battle Ground Reflector.
  • UNITE! Washougal: Shayla Rae Tyner and Lisa Bennet.
  • West Van for Youth: Latte Da Coffee House & Wine Bar and Clark College ACEs Club.

Additionally, Connect Evergreen Coalition honored coordinator Wendy Silverthorne as she retires from Evergreen School District and coalition work.

The groups celebrated the impact area volunteers have had on prevention efforts and that local data indicates youth substance use is generally trending downward. Since 2008:

  • Alcohol use has decreased by 44 percent
  • Binge drinking has decreased by 50 percent
  • Prescription painkiller misuse has decreased by 57 percent
  • Youth cigarette smoking has decreased by 62 percent

Also, marijuana use has remained stable despite retail legalization.

“We really appreciate the hard work and countless hours key coalition partners dedicate to building healthier communities,” said Christopher Belisle, Community Prevention Project Coordinator for Educational Service District 112. “We’re excited to gather as one prevention community and collectively honor volunteer and partner contributions.”