Dover forum focuses on youths' estrangement from the community they live in

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DOVER - The Dover School district, Community Partners, and Dover Listens is holding an action forum for the community at Dover High School on Thursday at 6 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.

This action forum is open to the public, focused on youth and their connections with people whether that be family, school groups or the community where they live. Parents, children, civic leaders, municipal personnel such as police, and business folks are encouraged to attend. This event will build on work initiated in the Community Partners mental health series, the Dover Kids Cabinet, and the Dover School Community Engagement Initiative.

Based on the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior survey given to students ages 14-18, it was learned that while over 50 percent of kids know they matter in our community, over 20 percent feel that they don't matter in our community.

"Young people today are bombarded with many pressures: challenging school environments, peer pressure and friends, social media, family life challenges. What we are hearing is that some kids feel lost in the shuffle and may not know how or where to express themselves to be heard." Said Kim Stephens, Dean of Students at Dover High School.

This action forum will be facilitated by Dover Listens trained facilitators as well as youth facilitators from Dover Middle School and Dover High School. These students have been active in fostering student voice and other efforts aimed at connecting students to their community to discuss concerns that matter to them.

Dover Listens is a locally run affiliate with New Hampshire Listens, a civic engagement initiative of the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire. New Hampshire Listens engages community residents to talk and act together to create communities that work for everyone.

Community Partners, Strafford County's local mental health center, offers family, youth, group and adult therapy for those with mental illness. For those youth that feel they don't matter in our community, opening new lines of communication with parents and other care givers may bring to light additional social, emotional and behavioral challenges that young people, their parents and the community needs to address.

This event is possible with the support of Kennebunk Savings Bank, the Integrated Delivery Network - Region 6, the Rotary Club of Dover, Community Partners, Strafford County Public Health Network, Dover Listens and the Dover School District.

For more information about Community Partners, go to

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