Allen and Janice Knox are devoted to helping children. They are two of the founding members of the Valley Community Coalition (VCC), which started 13 years ago to help youth in the North Fayette Valley community.
"The whole thing was a response to this girl who had asked for help so the community responded," said Allen Knox.
That teenage girl was concerned about a boyfriend who drank and was starting to experiment with drugs.
"When the young lady asked for help, it was impossible to ignore," said Knox.
Community members formed the VCC to provide resources to youth. Janice and Allen Knox lead the VCC's steering team.
There are four main components to the VCC: a youth center in Elgin offering youth a safe place to meet, a certified mentoring program, parental support, and community involvement.
"I think it's really critical that each of us take the stand to try to be there for our youth," said Janice Knox.
Another project of the VCC is SODA, or Students OK Without Drugs and Alcohol.
Allen Knox said so far, more than 100 middle school and high school students with North Fayette Valley have signed a pledge to be drug-free.
Allen and Janice simply want youth to know help is out there -- whether it's related to peer pressure, drugs, abuse, or anything else.
"We no longer have to feel like kids don't know where to turn. There are people who care, and we can make them available to them," said Allen Knox.
Allen and Janice Knox hope the Valley Community Coalition and its projects can be a model for other eastern Iowa communities in providing resources to youth.
For more information on the VCC, click here.
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