The Foothills Children's Wellness Network is challenging community businesses to be more connected with youth.

Sharon Dowdall, Project Coordinator for FCWN, says this challenge was formed after speaking with youth about what their needs and goals are.

"It surfaced from an exercise in the schools on pink shirt day seeking feedback from our youth around what were their needs and what were their issues," she said.

Dowdall says when asked for feedback, youth were very open about sharing what they'd like to see happen in the community.

"They were very candid and let us know what their needs were. They were asking to be included in our community, to feel connections. They wanted to help engage in meaningful activities such as; volunteerism, employment, leadership development. They want to be part of our amazing community," she said.

The Community Engagement Challenge gives local businesses several ways to enhance youth contributions to the community.

"It can just simply be recognition. Or, look inside their own programs and services and see what are they already doing, or is there a way to explore doing something different. We hope to profile some businesses that are already doing great work. Just thinking about what we do around our daily work, and is there room to be inclusive," said Dowdall.

Starting the first week of May, local businesses are invited to connect with community youth by displaying a decal in their business, as well as finding ways to include youth in programs or services, or by sponsoring an event.

For more information, or to register, click here:

Questions, comments or story ideas? Email us at [email protected]

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