LEONARDTOWN, MD (May 17, 2018) –The Interfaith Health Alliance (IHA), a partnership between the St. Mary’s County Health Department and the Interfaith Council of St. Mary’s County, is seeking local faith-based organizations to implement youth mentoring programs in the community.

“We see the Interfaith Health Alliance as a perfect opportunity to bring the faith perspective and approach to helping cultivate a generation of young people who are morally fortified to live healthy, productive lives free from the bonds of illicit drug-use” said Michael Martines, President of the Interfaith Council. “An investment of time mentoring young people pays future dividends of peace and prosperity.”

The IHA hopes to support local faith-based organizations in building new or expanding existing youth mentoring programs within their faith groups. Mentoring youth as they navigate the challenges of childhood and teen years can help build resiliency, mental well-being, and important life skills. Mentoring can also be a key factor in preventing youth drug misuse and addiction.

“As our community faces the ongoing opioid crisis, we recognize that many faith leaders serve a critical role in guiding their congregants through personal and family struggles,” stated Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “We want to support our faith leaders with resources that are effective in preventing youth drug use.”

Resources and technical assistance with implementing youth mentoring programs are available, as funding allows, to interested faith-based organizations. Grant funding to support this initiative was provided by the Rotary Club of Lexington Park.

For more information, visithttp://www.smchd.org/interfaithor contact the St. Mary’s County Health Department at (301) 475-4330.