February 2020
Monthly News and Updates
Interim Executive Director,
Elijah Wheeler
Congratulations to Elijah Wheeler
Please join us in welcoming Elijah Wheeler as the new Interim Executive Director of the Collaboration Council. His leadership will strengthen the Collaboration Council's ability to build systems that support our families.

Out of School Time
We partnered with Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) to offer a Restorative Justice training on February 19, 2020. The training was designed to build the mindset and need for restorative justice and restorative practices in schools and communities. The aim of restorative practices is to develop community and to manage conflict and tensions by repairing harm and building relationships.
In the opening remarks for the training, Interim Executive Director, Elijah Wheeler, stated “justice” means different things to different people. However what ‘Restorative Justice’ means is pretty uniform, no matter what setting it is held in. Restorative justice is about rehabilitation between one and their community. It’s about acknowledging the impact that one’s actions have on their community and what steps can be taken to redress that harm."
Twenty-five Montgomery County practitioners left the training with tools and the capacity to implement community building circles and the ability to provide their staff with specific strategies on building authentic and meaningful relationships. 

We are looking forward to following up with participants to share how the training has impacted their approach in programs.


Restorative Justice Training
MoCo ReConnect GED class at LAYC

MoCo Reconnect
The MoCo Reconnect program has had great success in its first six months of operation. The program has engaged over 175 youth, with Lead4Life organizing multiple outreach efforts targeting disconnected youth in Montgomery County.

Youth enrolled in MoCo Reconnect are connected to education and job readiness programs provided by Lead4Life and the Latin American Youth Centers (LAYC).
Lead4Life has offered young people the flexibility to earn their GED through a digital GED program, and we are excited that LAYC welcomed the first cohort of twenty students to their onsite GED and job-readiness training class in January! Students in these classes will receive GED instructions and case management support as they work towards achieving their goals.

We look forward to providing updates on the success of the MoCo Reconnect program. 

Know the Risks...
Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling aerosol (vapor) produced by an e-cigarette or other electronic drug delivery devices. The prevalence of e-cigarette usage (vaping) among US youth increased from 2011-2018, with 5.3 million middle and high school youth reporting use in the 2019 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey. The MTF survey further revealed that youth reported frequent use of e-cigarettes ( 1 in 10 eighth grader, 1 in 5 tenth grader and 1 in 4 twelfth grader ), and more exclusive users reported the use of flavored e-cigarettes. These results correspond with studies that show that youth have a low perceived risk of the dangers associated with e-cigarette use.
E-cigarettes are marketed as being safer than traditional cigarettes, but it is important to note that safer does not make it safe. While there are lower levels of toxic compounds in e-cigarettes than in traditional cigarettes, these levels are not zero and they can have significant adverse health risks with frequent use. 
While research is still being done to understand all the health risks associated with vaping, the lungs have been identified as one of the primary organs affected. E-cigarettes are efficient in delivering substances that are easily and quickly absorbed by the lungs, and as result frequent users are developing an irreversible and sometimes fatal lung disease known as EVALI (e-cigarette or vaping associated lung injury). The CDC and other public health agencies have linked vitamin E acetate, used as a thickening agent in vape cartridges, to be the primary cause of this lung disease.
As of February 4, 2020, the CDC reported a total of 2,758 hospitalized EVALI cases or deaths in all 50 states, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with 64 deaths confirmed in 28 states and the District of Colombia.
The growing health risks associated with vaping is a current public health concern, so it is important to know the risks associated with use to reduce negative health outcomes. For additional information about e-cigarettes and the associated health risks, please click here .

Councilmember Will Jawando & Interim Executive Director Elijah Wheeler
Collaboration Council's Podcast
We are pleased to announce our new podcast "The Sound of Collaboration" with our host Elijah Wheeler. Click here to listen to our first episode featuring Councilmember Will Jawando speaking on the importance of mentoring in Montgomery County.