New youth group focused on making a positive impact in eastern Idaho
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IDAHO FALLS – A local youth group is finishing up a fundraising effort Saturday to benefit the community.
Community Youth in Action was recently formed with the goal of empowering youth to make a difference in the community through service projects.
Their latest project involves running a TNT fireworks stand, which they are using as a fundraiser for their group. They also plan to use a portion of the funds to start a memorial scholarship in honor of Olivia Johnson, a Shelley teen who was killed in a car accident June 14.
Olivia was a founding member of CYA and helped write the mission statement just three days before she was killed.
“We met on a Monday to write our mission statement and Olivia was there. She wrote it for us. I still have all the notes in her hand writing,” Becky Leatham, CYA Director tells EastIdahoNews.com. “It’s so important that we wrote that and can be called into action whenever our community needs us and serve our community in a positive way.”
One purpose of the group, Leatham says, is to form healthy relationships so that they can help reduce suicide and substance abuse.
Leatham formed the group last month after stepping down as director of another nonprofit organization. She feels it’s important to have an organization where the voices of eastern Idaho’s youth can be heard.
“My goal is to make sure that all organizations in our community have youth on their board if they do things that involve youth,” Leatham says. “The city of Idaho Falls really should have youth involved in what’s happening in our community if they want to make a positive change with young people.”
The fireworks stand inside the Walmart parking lot off Utah Ave. was given to CYA by the Idaho Falls Fraternal Order of Police. The FOP ran the stand in previous years, but were not able to do it this year.
“Becky and I have helped each other over the years. I think what she does to raise money goes toward a great cause and that’s what we’re about, too. We’re both onboard with giving back to the community, especially the youth,” Idaho Falls FOP President Dustin Howell says.
CYA finished selling fireworks at Walmart Wednesday. They still have a stand at Broulim’s in Shelley until the end of the day Saturday.
Other organizations have stepped up in support of CYA donating supplies and office space.
In the next few weeks, the group will be helping the Suicide Prevention Action Network with a 5K run/walk and IFPD’s Community Night Out.
Leatham says there are currently 50 members of the group and she is actively recruiting more. Community Youth in Action is for youth anywhere in eastern Idaho between 14 and 18. There is no cost to join.
“There are so many kids who feel like they don’t have a place to belong. They don’t feel like they have friends. The thing that’s great about our youth is we have kids from schools from all over eastern Idaho, every religion. Every single dynamic of youth is part of our group. They’re very accepting of each other,” Leatham says.
If you’re interested in joining the group, call Becky Leatham at (208) 521-5328. You can also visit their Facebook page to learn more.