Melissa Kelly is a SUD prevention Instructor with Mid Valley Recovery Facilities, Inc., dba Pathways and has spoken at recent Live Oak City Council meetings on marijuana education.

On May 17, Kelly addressed the impact of marijuana on young brains and explained her work with Parent Education, such as Peer Pressure Resistance/Coping Skills and the effects of Substance Abuse on the brain and body from marijuana, alcohol and other drugs and behaviors associated with drug abuse; mindfulness and understanding addiction.

Of utmost concern to Kelly was Prop 64 and the shifting norms education, community and social norms, brain science and the impact on the adolescent brain.

Kelly is leaving Marysville and the Allyn Scott Youth and Community Center in Marysville to go take care of her father out of state but she plans on staying involved as much as she can from afar.

It would be a real tragedy to lose someone so devoted to kids and their well being. Contracts with the Marysville Charter Academy of Arts and Century 21 have made the continuance of the Allyn Scott Center possible but more help is needed. It was Century 21 that made their summer camp possible for three weeks of socially emotional learning life skills program.

Open to kids ages 8-14 years of age, the largest population to the center is 9-12 years old.

"It is our goal to provide sustainable programs for youth and families and to provide a safe place for people to learn," Kelley stated in an interview last week.

Miller would like to see more support for the center to help raise awareness of the issues that face our local youth and the need for a safe place to go.

Once Miller leaves December 10, the services that will continue through Pathways are Life Skills Training, Friday Night Live and some community resource booths and fairs.

She is sad that the center will no longer offer Parent Education, Parents Talk, Community Education for social media safety, Marijuana Education, Project Life a Girls/Boys Group, Self Image Workshop to improve attitudes and beliefs about oneself, the Social Emotional Learning Program and Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Adolescents when she leaves.

During her November visit to a Live Oak City Council meeting, Kelley stressed the importance of long term effects of marijuana declaring one in six youth use marijuana by age 14 and become dependent.

Kelley also stated in the short term, marijuana use has been shown to impair functions such as attention, memory, learning and decision making.

"Those affects can last for days after the high wears off. Heavy marijuana use in adolescence or early adulthood has been associated with a dismal set of life outcomes including poor school performance, higher dropout rates, increased welfare dependence, greater unemployment and lower life satisfaction.

Kelley is concerned for the Allyn Scott Center's existence as there are only five consistent board members out of the 15 although more board members have been recruited.

Though she is worried about the Center's future she stated gymnastics is going strong along with the dance program and free dance. Skate Nights are Wednesday and Sunday with anywhere from four to 20 kids attending. Friday Night Live is an active group with members primarily from Marysville Community Day School.

Formerly the Marysville Skating Rink, the Allyn Scott Center offers Skate Daze each Saturday in December from noon to 6 p.m. with open skating all day for free.

The center also offers sewing classes Saturdays from 10 - noon for a three week session, materials provided.

This nearly 30,000 square foot building is underutilized according to Kelly.

"We provide prevention programs to keep kids from substance abuse. We have great tools to manage life and coping skills which means the kids are less likely to get engaged in drugs and alcohol," she said."

"if they use the tools they are given they can stay out of trouble," Kelley said.

Working with kids at risk of poverty, homelessness and abuse history is a natural for Kelley.

"Some kids don't have kids they can turn to and trust," she said.

"We need to pair these kids with people making good choices, connect them with resources for a good life with job skills. Young people want to feel needed," she said.

For more information contact the center at 530-749-1776 or visit 1830 B Street, Marysville across from Marysville High School. Website address is www.asycc.org. Hours are 3 to 6 p.m.