New executive director feels blessed in her new role with Grand Futures
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Lindsey Simbeye feels right at home as she sits in her office above Fiesta Jalisco in Steamboat Springs.
That might be because she was born and raised in the Yampa Valley, or maybe it’s because she feels like the role she accepted in October as the executive director of the Grand Futures Prevention Coalition is where she wants to be.
“That’s the thing that is really cool,” Simbeye said. “I am beyond blessed to have grown up in this community. I just count my blessings everyday … to be be able to give back to my community and to make an impact beyond myself. To be able to give that blessing to other people that’s the amazing thing about this role.”
Her role is to oversee the Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, which was founded in 1990 in Grand County to address the growing drug and alcohol problems the district attorney’s office was seeing among local youth. The partnership established a dedicated group to curb substance abuse among teens in that county, and in 1995, the efforts were expanded to include Routt and Moffat counties.
Today Grand Futures runs programs such as Teen Council and offers classes in Responsible Alcohol Service Training, which trains alcohol servers to serve responsibly. Other programs include N-O-T on Tobacco, a 10-session group class created to help teens quit or reduce the use of tobacco and marijuana products.
Grand Futures has also found its way into classrooms, after school programs, parenting class, special interest clubs, town boards, school boards and with public heath professionals providing information and public conversations about the issues surrounding teen drug and alcohol use and abuse. The group provides resources to educate parents to talk to there kids about substances.
Grand Futures is driven by a group of six board members, and has regional directors in Routt, Grand and Moffat counties. In her new position, Simbeye oversees the nonprofit and guides it’s progress toward a goals.
While the position is new to Simbeye, our community is not. She graduated from Steamboat Springs High School in 1996, and attended Colorado Mountain College for a year before leaving to attend the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. She moved back and worked for the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association for a year, before moving to Chicago to take a position a large public relations firm.
A few years ago she came back to Steamboat to work remotely, and when she was asked to come back she decided to stay.
“I grew up in a small town, so I thought that I had to move away and be a big city girl,” Simbeye said. “A few years ago I decided this is where I wanted to be.”
She spent the past two years working for Casey’s Pond Senior Living Community as a marketing and public relations director, but has recently moved to Grand Futures.
“It was a natural step because you still have that fulfillment of being able to give back to the community and make a difference in people’s lives, which is really important to my job satisfaction,” she said.
Simbeye feels her skill set and her experience in public relations and marketing will help her be successful. She is driven to develop programs and get the word out about what Grand Futures does, but she admits that one of her biggest priorities right now is expanding the Grand Futures board.
“We are looking to expand our board,” Simbeye said, We really, really are looking for people with a passion for substance abuse prevention work especially in Moffat County and Grand County.”
The board lost two members from Grand County, and has three members from Routt County and one from Moffat County. She feels that have representation from all three counties is a key.
“In order to have success, we have to rely on the advisory councils in each of the counties,” Simbeye said. “But at the same time there is a certain level of best practice that can be shared across all three.”
Simbeye hopes to replicate Grand Future’s success among the three counties. She understands that they are three very diverse communities — each with its own personality. She said the trick is finding things that work in all three, and then tailoring them for each community to reduce drug, alcohol and tobacco use among teens.
The foundation for success is based on the group’s ability to work with other organizations like the schools, after school programs and youth groups in each community to solve the problems they all face.
Simbeye sees Grand Futures as a partner and said that her goal is to work with other community organizations to reduce the impact of these influences on children in our community.
“Grand Futures plays a part in this,” she said “In most cases it is a collective work to get it done. … There are lot of conversations between a lot of stake holders to make sure we are making the right decision for each community.”
Simbeye is hoping that Grand Futures can take some of the pressure off of school districts in the counties and find ways to supplement what they are doing.
“We are looking at ways that we can partner with school districts in each county to say what is it that you are working to deliver and educate kids in terms of substance use and substance abuse and how can we supplement that or take a little bit off their plate to ensure that we are really reaching the full community.”
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