Communities that Care

Communities that Care

Our Communities that Care Coalition is focused on working alongside youth to develop programs to promote healthy and drug-free living. By allowing youth to take the lead, CTC aims to ensure that youth have the space to participate actively in our community and make healthy decisions for themselves and their peers.  

The mission of the Coalition is to engage with youth, community members, parents, and key stakeholders to increase protective factors and reduce risk factors with the long-term goal of reducing youth substance use among students in the Telluride School District. 

The Coalition & Youth Club

Our Coalition is comprised of community leaders from a variety of sectors.  The following people have signed on as key stakeholders: 

  1. Alexa Calvo Telluride High School Student 
  1. Julia Millan-Avila Tri-County Health Network – Latinx Parent Liaison  
  1. Chad Kusuno Community Banks of Colorado – Community President & Business Banking Manager 
  1. Julia Caulfield KOTO Radio – News Director 
  1. John Pandolfo Telluride School District R-1 – Superintendent 
  1. Clea Willow Bright Futures – Program Director 
  1. Conor Craft Alpine Chapel – Children’s Pastor 
  1.  Josh Comte Telluride Marshal’s Department – Chief Marshal 
  1. Adrienne Christy One-to-One Mentoring – Program Manager 
  1. Grace Franklin San Miguel County Public Health – Director 
  1. DeLanie Young Town of Telluride – Director of Community Services 
  1. Paul Reich Axis Health System – Community Relations Liaison  

Our Telluride High School Youth Club is comprised of students in 9th through 12th grade and is sponsored by Sara Lopez, Telluride High School Spanish teacher and track & field coach. 

A message from the co-founders:

Sophia Watkins and Rhys Chambers tell us what the CTC club has meant to them during their high school career.

Join the Coalition!

Are you a parent, young person, teacher, or community member who wants to support youth in the Telluride School District and reduce teen substance use? Join the Communities that Care Coalition! 

When you join the Coalition, you will be part of a variety of projects in the Telluride area that aim to provide healthy alternatives to substance use. Coalition members assist with youth activities & advocacy, community events, and exciting year-end gatherings. The Coalition is working with the school district to develop a social-emotional learning curriculum and collaborating with the governments of Telluride, Mountain Village, and San Miguel County, as well as the Telluride Parks & Recreation Department to ensure a youth center is built locally. Additionally, the Coalition is advocating for the adoption of a social host ordinance. 

Join Now

The CTC Model

As an evidence-based program developed at the University of Washington and implemented across the United States and worldwide in rural and urban communities, CTC intends to give youth in our community a voice. CTC uses prevention science as its base, fostering healthy youth development, improving youth outcomes, and reducing problem behaviors.  

The CTC program focuses on risk factors and protective factors, and on the engagement and development of youth. To address these factors, the Coalition uses data to learn about the experiences of youth growing up in Telluride. The most recent data pool is the 2023 COFP survey results from April, which can be read in English and Spanish. Every two years the Telluride School District participates in a statewide survey, the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. The survey asks students about adolescent substance use in our community, along with student attitudes and perceptions. The survey also asks about bullying, mental health, sexual health, and violence, among other topics. These results inform our work and help us create campaigns to promote healthy choices by working alongside Telluride’s youth. 

Risk Factors

A risk factor is a norm, condition or idea that negatively impacts health outcomes for youth and increases the likelihood of youth engaging in risky behaviors.  For example, the 2021 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey shows that almost 70% of Telluride students report that they think it would be sort of or very easy to get alcohol in our community, while 55% report the same for marijuana. The overwhelming attitude among students at Telluride High School that alcohol and cannabis are easily accessible is a risk factor in our community, reinforced by the large number of local stores that sell these substances. 

Protective Factors

A protective factor is the opposite of a risk factor in that it positively contributes to the well-being of youth in our community. The 2021 Healthy Kids Colorado Survey found that 84% of Telluride High School students reported that they could ask a parent or guardian for help if they had a personal problem. The fact that so many students have an accessible adult figure in their lives may protect them from risky behaviors and improve their mental health and well-being. 

To learn more about the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey results, click here.

Through both our youth club and coalition, we want to bring youth into the conversation and advocate for a healthier community together. Here are some recent examples of events we’ve hosted!

2020-23 CTC community events

What We’ve Achieved

Since the Coalition’s inception in 2017, our successes have included:  

  • Lobbying for and passing a Tobacco 21 law in Telluride  
  • Preventing the approval of Cannabis Social Consumption Rooms in Telluride 
  • Ensuring that the Telluride Parks & Recreation Master Plan identifies space for a youth center 
  • Working with the Town of Telluride and the Telluride Parks & Recreation Department on the youth center design, operations plan, and funding requests from additional stakeholders 
  • Creating youth middle and high school clubs in the Telluride R-1 School District 
  • Creating a Spanish-speaking Parent Workgroup to provide an additional opportunity for a historically underrepresented part of our community to make their voice heard 
  • Offering live interpretation between English & Spanish at Coalition meetings and Community Conversation forums 
  • Supporting our local youth in creating a temporary youth hangout in partnership with the Telluride Ski and Snowboard Club  
  • Supporting the Telluride School District’s efforts to create a district-wide Social Emotional Learning Strategy 

We are a community that empowers our youth to be healthy, productive, resilient, and engaged. To learn more about our past campaigns, click here.

What’s Next?

We want to continue to empower our youth. We want to change the experience of the youth growing up in the Telluride School District by challenging the social norms of drinking and drug use.

Currently, we are working to establish a permanent youth center in the community.  We are also supporting the School District in implementing a comprehensive social-emotional curriculum and working alongside youth to create a social norms campaign that challenges the perceptions and social norms of drug and alcohol use in Telluride.

We want to broaden membership in the Coalition so that it truly reflects our entire community. And we need your help!

You Can Be Involved!

Are you a student in Telluride? The San Miguel Communities that Care has clubs at both Telluride High School and Telluride Middle School club. Ask your high school principal or school counselor if you are interested in joining.

If you are interested in helping us achieve our goal of establishing a permanent youth space, raising funds for fun, safe, and engaging youth-focused events, and learning how your voice can make a difference in our community, CTC is for you! Click here to learn more about CTC youth clubs.

Are you a parent or community member interested in helping our Telluride youth thrive? Please join the Communities that Care Coalition.

Funding for this coalition is provided through a grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment and the Centers for Disease Control.

For more information, please contact Dawn Katz, our CTC Manager, at 970-708-7096 or through email at

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