The Rice County Chemical and Mental Health Coalition has recognized three people and one organization as 2022 Prevention Champions.

The honorees are: Emily Fulton-Foley, executive director of the Northfield Union of Youth; Ashley Gardner and Sheila Lockler, Recovery Corps navigators with the Community Action Center of Northfield; and the staff of the Faribault Public Schools Area Learning Center.

The recipients were recognized for their contributions in reducing risk factors for alcohol and drug abuse, supporting recovery, promoting mental health and well-being, and/or building assets for youth and other community members.

Emily Fulton-Foley is “continually thinking of different avenues and ways to reach youth, both in terms of prevention and support,” her nominator wrote. “She goes above and beyond in educating youth about the risks inherent in use and the supports that are available in our community.”

Ashley Gardner and Sheila Lockler were commended for their work connecting people with recovery resources. Their nominator wrote: “Sheila is so accepting of people and where they’re at on their journey and has such knowledge of the recovery world. Ashley is a go-getter who takes care of business and is getting to know many resources outside of the community to help meet participants’ needs.”

The Faribault ALC staff was nominated for “creating an environment where substance use prevention is worked into their daily interactions with students. They also have made mental health and well-being a priority for both staff and students,” the nominator wrote.

The awards were presented in late April and early May in advance of National Prevention Week, May 8-14.

For more information about Prevention Champions and other initiatives of the Rice County Chemical and Mental Health Coalition, visit ricecountycmhc.org.

Joy Riggs is the communications coordinator for the Healthy Community Initiative.

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