New youth commission decides to look at behavioral health
New commission meets for first time
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@ stmarys.com 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.