A $20,000 grant is aimed at helping children learn how to identify and address their feelings.

The Wasco County Board of Commissioners signed the grant contract between Youth Think and the Oregon Health Authority April 16 at their board meeting. Wasco County Department of Youth Services Director Molly Rogers said the grant will be used to continue Youth Think’s efforts in promoting and producing content relating to the Pocket Full of Feelings project in the community.

Within the grant agreement, Pocket Full of Feelings is referred to as an “innovative prevention project” in that it works to “transform” the overall health of the community through educating area youth in emotional literacy.

“For health care, the project really lends itself well to mental health integration,” she said. “It helps us better recognize when some of the kids who were initially being diagnosed with mental health issues actually may be suffering from behavioral ones instead.”

“The Transforming Health through Emotional Literacy project,” the grant agreement states, “will consist of introducing the concept and importance of emotional literacy to a variety of individuals and organizations. Special emphasis will focus on children ages 2-7 and those in the Hispanic and Native American communities.”

Further, the agreement says the project will strategically provide new ways “of looking at wellness by strengthening and creating new parenting programs in addition to incorporating physical and behavioral health at the earliest of ages in order to create lasting behavior change” and increase “long-term wellness” in the community overall.

The agreement stipulates that it will only be used in activities that are related to the Pocket Full of Feelings project, which include “creating and implementing a networking strategy” and developing marketing plans with the “expectation of increasing knowledge of emotional literacy by targeting health care providers, key child serving stakeholders, and parents and community members at large.”

Other activities the grant will help Youth Think fund “tri-ethnic community readiness” assessments and conducting “Pocket Full of Feelings Parenting Boot Camp training with a minimum of six sessions” to help build stronger foundations for familial understanding and communication.

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