New youth com­mis­sion de­cides to look at be­hav­ioral health

New com­mis­sion meets for first time

The Enterprise - - Front Page - By JAC­QUI ATKIELSKI jatkiel­ski@somd­ Twit­ter: @Jac­quiEn­tNews

St. Mary’s County Youth Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion mem­bers voted Mon­day to cre­ate a be­hav­ioral health sub­com­mit­tee and to look into help­ing the fu­ture of the county re­gard­ing is­sues re­lated to the opi­oid epi­demic.

Mem­bers of the new com­mit­tee voted to elect a chair­per­son, vice chair­per­son and a sec­re­tary for their next meet­ing on Mon­day, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m.

Cre­ated of­fi­cially in April, five of the six cur­rent mem­bers at­tended the group’s first meet­ing, which was held in Leonard­town. Youth mem­bers in­clude Chop­ti­con High School stu­dents Shan­non Baker and Josh Guy, Leonard­town High School stu­dent Co­ralee Romero, Great Mills High School stu­dents Tay­lor Berry and Dono­van Weekly, and Col­lege of South­ern Mary­land stu­dent Alexus Fen­wick. Adult ad­vis­ing mem­bers in­clude Mar­cia Green­berg, with the St. Mary’s com­mu­nity and youth cen­ter cam­paign, Chris­tine Allred of the lo­cal Univer­sity of Mary­land ex­ten­sion of­fice and Leonard­town at­tor­ney Mar­sha Wil­liams.

“This is purely youth led,” said Kelsey Bush,

St. Mary’s County gov­ern­ment youth co­or­di­na­tor. The adults serve on the board to ad­vise, con­nect with com­mu­nity mem­bers and rep­re­sent the youth com­mis­sion at meet­ings when nec­es­sary.

Green­berg said, “that’s why we can’t make mo­tions or votes.”

Weekly said at the meet­ing he sug­gested the cre­ation of the be­hav­ioral health sub­com­mit­tee be­cause “fam­i­lies are be­ing torn apart” due to drug use, es­pe­cially in the Lex- in­g­ton Park area.

Bush rec­om­mended that the youth com­mis­sion keep the sub­com­mit­tees small, or con­nect with other or­ga­ni­za­tions work­ing to­ward the same goals. When sug­gest­ing the name of the sub­com­mit­tee, he re­minded mem­bers that it would be wise to take “a holis­tic ap­proach” be­cause men­tal ill­ness and sub­stance abuse tend to be con­nected.

County at­tor­ney David Weiskopf said the young mem­bers should “get their sea legs first” be­fore pos­si­bly be­ing over­whelmed by the vol­un­teer work.

The St. Mary’s Youth Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion is still look­ing for in­ter­ested St. Mary’s res­i­dents be­tween the ages of 16 and 22.

Email Bush at Kelsey.Bush@ for more in­for­ma­tion.


Youth Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion mem­bers Shan­non Baker, left, Dono­van Weekly and Tay­lor Berry sit dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral meet­ing in Leonard­town. The next meet­ing is sched­uled for Mon­day, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m.

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