October 4, 2019

Media Contact: 

Celeste Clark,, (603) 895-7061

Roots of success continue to grow stronger in Raymond.

The Raymond Coalition For Youth hosted its Seventh Annual Prevention Summit to a full house of people all connected to supporting youth in our communities. It was a powerful sight to see law enforcement, health care, parents, senators, and members of Congress, school, business professionals, faith leaders, and local government, along with youth and parents, all in the same room, all a part of an organization so much bigger than just a few people. RCFY is a true community effort of people who work together to make things better for our young people, and it is inspiring to see and be a part of it.

The theme of the morning was a tree to represent the strong roots that continue to strengthen as partnerships form, and people work together for the common good. “Seventeen years ago, I don’t think anyone could have imagined the small group of people who formed RCFY would be here today, in a room full of over one-hundred individuals, all coming together to support the youth in our community,” stated Executive Director, Celeste Clark. 

The strength of the Raymond Coalition For Youth is based on the people who are involved. “It is about connections and communication.” Monthly RCFY meetings have been happening on the second Thursday of the month, 9:00 – 10:30 am for over seventeen years, now held at the Raymond Baptist Church. These meetings are for sharing ideas, staying updated on trends, putting strategies in place, and building a strong, active community. 

All of these partnerships supporting youth have resulted in lower rates of substance misuse. 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results were shared, and Raymond has lower reported past thirty-day marijuana and alcohol use amongst its high school students. Vaping, which is a concern across the country, increased three percent. 

RCFY recognized, “People are stronger when they work together.” Our 2019 award recipients were Special Agent Jon DeLena of the New England Drug Enforcement Administration for the 2019 Community Leader award, the Town of Raymond NH, and Town Manager Joe Isley for our 2019 Community Partner award and Alex Cooney for our RCFY Youth Leadership award. Congratulations, and thank you, to each of them. All of these individuals played an important role in moving the Raymond Coalition For Youth in a meaningful direction and helping us to connect services to our community and raise awareness of the importance of our work.


Our KeyNote speaker was Christine McNulty Grant, who addressed stress, more importantly, toxic stress and the impact that has on a teen. Her message for adults was to support our youth and be more aware of how much teens have going on in their lives. The top two stressors for teens are school and parents; this was evidenced by a national survey and aligned with data collected from Raymond students.

As adults, we need to be mindful of the messages we are sending to our youth. How do we deal with stress? We need to promote healthy diets and exercise, and most importantly, how do relax and sit comfortably in quiet, without worry about what we are missing. We need to be mindful of how we talk about a “need” for substances such as alcohol or other addictive substances such as caffeine and sugar. “I need a beer.” “I need my morning coffee.” These are sometimes said by well-meaning adults who might not realize the message they are sending. 


Our RCFY Youth Action students drove home the message with a presentation on what causes them stress. These included work, sports, homework, teachers who don’t talk to each other and have conflicting schedules or expectations of students, trouble at home with divorce, drama, and families. “We have to get up early to be at school, go to practice for two or more hours, and be at our best to compete on the field. Only to go home and have to do homework, so we stay on top of our grades and are ready for college.” Some of these kids go to school only to get out and go to work for six additional hours. Their messages for adults: “You don’t always have to have an answer. Let us figure it out.” “Just listen.” “It might not be a big deal to you, but it is to me.” “We had a long day too.” Compelling messages from our youth to adults who might not always be aware that kids have significant stress. 

We want to thank everyone who makes up the Raymond Coalition For Youth. To learn more about this amazing nonprofit organization, please visit or contact our office 603-895-7061, You are welcome to join us at a monthly meeting and check us out of social media sites, as well. Raymond Community Television recorded this entire event. We are very grateful to them! That and additional videos of this presentation are also available on our RCFY YouTube channel.

October 4, 2019:

Thank you so much to Cheryl at Raymond Area News​ for her continued support, and this excellent article on today's 7th Annual Prevention Summit

July 22, 2019:

RCFY in Parenting, NH magazine article: Reading, writing and vaping

"While combustible cigarette use has declined among young people, vaping — the use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) — has skyrocketed.

The widely held attitude about e-cigarettes and similar devices among teens and many adults is that vaping is safe, and that e-juice, which contains nicotine, is only water and fruit and candy flavoring."

Click on the picture or the link above to read the entire article. 

June 28, 2019:

Raymond was highlighted, in a very good way, last night and this morning, on WMUR.

The story was on our Raymond Coalition For Youth Drug-Free Community grant that we are wrapping up year nine and going into year ten, our last year of funding.

With your help and support, and being a part of the Raymond Coalition For Youth, we have been able to build a strong foundation and are very optimistic about our future. We are very excited about the many people, organizations, and business that make up RCFY and appreciate that our community understands the value of us all working together to achieve success.

Thank you.  Thank you for your time, energy, desire to work together, and for sharing resources to support our young people and community.  This is what creates success and positive change.  "Alone We Can Do So Little. Together We Can Do So Much." ~ Helen Keller.

Click on the picture above to watch the video on WMUR's site.  View our latest newsletter to read more about the national recognition RCFY received on June 27th with Governor Sununu. 

May 2019:


Contact - Celeste Clark, Executive Director, Raymond Coalition For Youth   603-895-7061

Taking Pride in Raymond Sweeps through the Town

"People were thanking us, and that made me feel really good." A strong comment from a Raymond High school student on Wednesday.  Self-pride, community pride, involvement, appreciation, and connections are all some of the reasons why the Raymond Coalition For Youths Operation Raymond Clean Up event, in its fifteenth year, is so important.  In one day, twelve hundred pounds of trash was collected and properly disposed of.

Over the past two weeks, hundreds of people have taken to the streets, parks, and trails of Raymond NH to clean up trash, recyclables, bulk waste items, and cigarette butts. "It's unbelievable what some people throw away, and where they throw it," said one student.  One of the oddest items found was a loveseat; one of the oldest was a submerged shopping cart from the old Prescott Farms grocery store submerged in the river. Participants collected bikes, tires, liquor bottles, beer cans and filled four gallon-sized plastic bags full of cigarette butts as part of Breathe NH's annual Bag-The-Butts campaign.

A big bonus to this day is exposing people, especially our high school students, to some of the fun undiscovered locations we have in this great little town.  Riverside Park, located at the end of Sundeen Parkway, is a park that has a playground, dog park, walking trails, and a beautiful field. This park is an excellent location for enjoying nature and taking some time to unwind and relax. "I am so excited; I have lived here my whole life and didn't even know this place existed." said a chaperone who had a group of high school student participating in the clean-up community service day.

There are the rails to trails that go through Raymond from Prescott Rd. in Epping to Candia.  These trails are unpaved but wide enough for walking, running, bike riding and even has a secret spot on the Lamprey River for those who might like to go fishing, or sit and relax, taking in nature.   

This year the new town manager, Joe Ilsley, wanted the town to be more a part of this event and offered for town employees to participate.  With the town involved, RCFY was able to get the school involved, and it transformed into a high school community service day with conversations of making this a graduation requirement moving forward.

"Anytime we can get adults and kids positively interacting with each other, it increases a young person's protective factors.  In the world of prevention, these are the good things in a person's life that help them to succeed," commented Celeste Clark, Executive Director of RCFY. "Today was full of protective factors: connecting kids to the community, giving them an opportunity to take pride in the place they call home, positive adult role models and interactions, businesses stepping up to support them, adults taking an interest in them, all super amazing things."

"This was the beginning of a great relationship between the school and the town of Raymond, and we are looking forward to great things," said Mr. Ilsley.   A special thank you to Raymond Police Department, Recreation Department, and Public Works for setting up and cooking lunch for everyone who was a part of this day.  A special shout out to high school teacher Mr. Hayes who got the grill up and going. "He's the best," said a student waiting to eat - a comment that was repeated by more than a few students who know him as a teacher they can go to as a trusted adult.  In the prevention world, an adult like him is priceless.

One of the goals of RCFY is to increase community collaboration, and this event hit a home run.  T-shirts specially designed for the day said: "I AM THE COALITION" because everyone who makes an event like this a success is what the Raymond Coalition For Youth is all about – a community working together.  RCFY is so much bigger than one person, one department or one group – it takes all of us, and that is why RCFY is a success - because so many people pitch in. A special thank you to Hannaford, who provided healthy morning snacks for all of our high school students.  A special thank you to Tuckaway Tavern who provided the hamburgers, hot dogs, and water for over four hundred volunteers. This event was made possible through the RCFY Drug-Free Community grant funds and SAMHSA Partnership for Success Grant in the Raymond School District.  For more information, please visit Check out pictures of this great community event on Raymond Coalition For Youth social media channels. Working together, we do make a difference!

March 2019:

January 2019:

Read the latest issue of Raymond Recreation Department's "On The Common".  Here is the RCFY section:

Interstate Peer Pressure

As a teenager, I am constantly surrounded by my peers and their opinions on different topics. One of the topics that they are the most vocal on is marijuana — specifically the state of legalization of the drug. Although some of my peers are quite passionate about marijuana legalization, they cannot see the big picture of what would happen to New Hampshire if it is legalized. Furthermore, the decriminalization of the drug has already diminished the perception of risk, which has made people more comfortable experimenting with it.

Despite the popularity of the substance, there is still a lot of confusion about the short-term and long-term effects of the drug on both a person’s health as well as society as a whole. A lot of trouble with this topic comes from the mixed messaging that people of all ages hear about marijuana. Many pro-pot people like to bring up the healing and medicinal properties of a component found in the plant, which is called CBD. I agree that there are benefits of using CBD for specific conditions; however, this argument is irrelevant within the context of marijuana legalization. People who need therapeutic cannabis can already obtain it legally in the state of New Hampshire, but medicinal marijuana is often used as an argument to confuse voters so that they can get the law passed. Additionally, anyone who says that it won’t affect kids/teens because it will be age-restricted doesn’t realize that if over 35 percent of teenagers admit to using marijuana while it is illegal, more teens will use the substance once it is more accessible. With marijuana becoming more popular, I have begun to hear young people say that they “drive better while high” or that they do not see a problem with driving a car while high. This is probably the scariest aspect of marijuana for me because I drive on the same roads as people who drive while impaired.

I fear that the only things that will come from the legalization of marijuana would be that the perception of risk of this substance would drop to virtually none, increased marijuana use in adolescents (despite age restrictions), and increased car accidents related to driving while impaired. Marijuana legalization does not have to be inevitable, and I hope that those who are against it will use their voice and express their concerns to those in power. New Hampshire has done something unusual thus far by refusing to be “peer-pressured” by the states around us, and by staying true to the values of the community.

                                                                              — by Savanna Cooney, Youth Intern for the Raymond Coalition for Youth