Better Together

Scottsdale Youth and Community Coalition Works to Engage, Educate, and Empower Local Youth

Sometimes blessings come out of tragedy. Such was the case for Scottsdale nurse practitioner Lisa Swansen after the sudden and tragic loss of her son in 2018. Swansen, along with Mental Health Professional Christine Driscoll, LASAC, co-founded the Scottsdale Youth and Community Coalition (SYCC). 

SYCC is an organization dedicated to engaging, educating, and empowering youth. It was created out of Swansen's painful experience and desire to make the community a better place by providing people easier access to resources in times of need. Through her grief, Swansen saw an opportunity for change. Together, she and Driscoll worked to create an organization with a mission to build an alliance of professional resources and community leaders to support youth and families through prevention and outreach.

SYCC operates as a 100% volunteer organization with a total of six board members, all with valuable expertise in mental health fields and relevant professions. SYCC also receives dedicated support from the National Guard and Scottsdale Police Department, as well as community school districts.

SYCC Board Chair Rachel Rubenstein, LCSW, says SYCC promotes organizations, agencies, and professionals that serve youth and families by informing Scottsdale area community about programs, events, and services.

“We strive to support our professionals in doing their important work and make it easier for people to find the resources they need in one central location,” she says. “We truly believe we are better together.”

The three areas of focus for SYCC are issues the board feels are prevalent among youth today—substance use, eating disorders, and mental health. Those three pillars encompass a large portion of the challenges kids face on a daily basis—everything from bullying and social media issues to drug use and everything in-between.

“We hold monthly professional meetings in which community providers and social service organizations share information and ideas on how best to serve Scottsdale area youth and families,” says Rubenstein.

In addition to the monthly professionals meeting, SYCC maintains a page on its website where a list of services and professionals can be found with a click of the mouse. 

The organization recently partnered with Aurora Behavioral Health Systems on quarterly Lunch and Learn sessions, which will begin this month. The Lunch and Learn events are for parents, educators, mental health professionals, and anyone who works to support Scottsdale area youth.

Long-term, SYCC hopes to build an even more comprehensive resource directory website, as well as reach into the professional sectors to help educate Scottsdale area parents. ScottsdaleYouth.org

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