The Granite Youth Alliance (GYA) is a network of youth groups in eastern Rockingham County that are implementing advocacy initiatives related to drug prevention. GYA is a project of, and funded by, the Greater Seacoast United Way with technical assistance from Dover Youth to Youth.
GYA Teams are generally based in local middle or high schools. Each team has two adult advisers that coordinate meetings, plan training for the students, and oversee projects and activities. The teams meet weekly and plan action steps. The types of activities that students conduct generally fall into the categories of: Media, Policy Change, Presenting, or Community/School Awareness Projects. Students’ projects usually focus on marijuana, alcohol, or Rx misuse – although they sometimes address other related substances or topics, such as violence, suicide or addiction.
In addition to school or community based activities, Granite Youth Alliance has two annual signature events that bring youth from throughout the region together for collective action. The first is an annual training conference where youth gain knowledge and skills that they can take back and use in their community. The second is the Granite Youth Film Festival where youth experience the complete film making process from idea development to production. The films are premiered at an event each June held at the O’Neil Cinemas in Epping.
The Granite Youth Alliance program operates under the One Voice Model of Youth Empowerment developed in Dover, NH. This model strongly emphasizes the development of subject matter knowledge and highly refined core advocacy skills before action is taken. Staff and students from Dover Youth to Youth provide GYA teams with technical assistance that includes: helping new groups recruit members and get started; providing training at team meetings; planning and conducting the annual training conference for GYA participants; assisting, as needed, with project execution; training adult advisers; and providing teams with ideas for activities or projects.