Marion Area Coalition for Healthy Communities Marion Initiative

The Center for Healthy Community has a long-term partnership with the Marion area. Marion is in east-central Wisconsin, approximately 50 miles west of both Green Bay and Appleton. The partnership began in 1995 as a result of an earlier meeting between a Medical College of Wisconsin faculty person and a local nurse practitioner.

The partnership, now formally called the Marion Area Coalition for Healthy Communities, is focused on local priorities. The Marion community initially identified youth and youth substance abuse as the priorities. The primary funding source has been the federal Drug-Free Communities Support Program, provided through the office National Drug Control Policy and administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The grant began in 1998, and was renewed in 2003. The partners are focused on the root causes of substance abuse. The mission of the substance abuse prevention program is to reduce multi-generational substance abuse in the Marion area by increasing youth assets and decreasing risk factors, and by establishing and strengthening collaboration among public and private institutions in the community.


Partners

The Marion Area Coalition for Healthy Communities is comprised of representatives from the following organizations and individuals:

  • Marion Area Community Foundation
  • Marion Area Christian Youth Initiative (MACYI)
  • Marion Area City, Village, and Township governments
  • Marion Area Ministerial Association
  • Marion Civic Group
  • City of Marion Police Department
  • The Marion Advertiser (local newspaper)
  • Area civic and volunteer organizations
  • Local business leaders
  • Local health providers
  • Center for Healthy Communities, Department of Family and Community Medicine,
    Medical College of Wisconsin
  • School District of Marion
  • University of Wisconsin-Extension, Waupaca County


Goals for the Program

The overarching goals of the initiative are to reduce youth (and ultimately adult) substance abuse and increase coalition capacity. Multiple objectives support the goals. Specifically, the goals and objectives are as follows:

  • Decrease youth alcohol use by 5% in each of grades 7-11 by 2007
  • Decrease youth marijuana use by 5% in each of grades 7-11 by 2007
  • Decrease youth tobacco use to less that 8% of the total grades 7-11 by 2007
  • Increase coalition networking and capacity


Objectives for the above four goals

  • Increase the drug-prevention communication and boundary-setting skills of all parents of fourth through ninth graders
  • Maintain the average number of participants who attend family-strengthening programs and drop-in playtime
  • Increase elementary youths' capacity to resist substance abuse by 10% (measured within each class, from pre-test to post-test)
  • Maintain 2005-2006 levels of student participation in service activities (total will be approximately 40 students)
  • Maintain the 2005-2006 level of contact hours between mentors and students (2005-2006 level=364 hours) and add at least 3 new mentors.
  • Expand community understanding of and action around risks and consequences of substance abuse
  • Institutionalize a youth advisory committee
  • Sustain collaborations with local business around prevention issues
  • Increase the Coalition's Fall 2006 levels of impact, benefit, and effectiveness levels in 2008 by 5%


Accomplishments to Date

  • Developed the Marion Area Family Resource Center, providing the community with a service that was previously unavailable. The Resource Center is the coordinating arm for all the activities that occur through the partnership.
  • Helped institutionalize a new, best practice prevention curriculum in the school system; previously there was no systematic prevention curriculum.
  • Established a mentor program that has involved over 40 adults, hundreds of children, and over 600 volunteer hours.
  • Successfully passed local ordinances that put healthy parameters on alcohol consumption at public events.
  • Hosted over 10 family and community town suppers, with an (duplicated) attendance of 500 people.


Significant Impact Outcome Data

  • Thirty-day alcohol use in grades 7-11 has decreased from 44% in 1997 to 33% in 2005 (a 25% decrease).
  • Thirty-day marijuana use in grades 7-11 has decreased dramatically, from 24% in 1999 to 4% in 2005 (a 83% decrease).
  • Thirty-day tobacco use in grade 7-11 has decreased from 35% in 1999 to 14% in 2005 (a 60% decrease)/
  • Thirty-day tobacco use in grade 6-7 in 2005 was 0%.


Funding Source

  • Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Local government, business, and other individuals contribution of time
 Coalition-Focused Activities

Coalition-focused activities including increasing youth involvement in the coalition, holding regular meetings, advancing the strategic plan and fundraising efforts, participating in poverty-simulation training, collaborating at the county level (and potentially beyond) and conducing a 5K Run/Walk. Through these efforts, the collective strengths of the community are leveraged to create a stronger community and coalition.

Partners:

  • Marion Area Community Foundation
  • Marion Area Christian Youth Foundation (MACYI)
  • Marion Area City, Village, and Township governments
  • Marion Area Ministerial Association
  • Marion Civic Group
  • City of Marion Police Department
  • The Marion Advertiser (local newspaper)
  • Area civic and volunteer organizations
  • Local business leaders
  • Local health care providers
  • Center for Healthy Communities, Department of Family and Community Medicine,
    Medical College of Wisconsin
  • School District of Marion
  • University of Wisconsin-Extension, Waupaca County

Goal of these Activities:

  • Increase community coalition benefit and effectiveness

Activities:

  • Institutionalize a youth advisory committee-plans are underway to better incorporate youth input and feedback into the Coalition efforts. This will likely come through the youth service group.
  • Hold bi-monthly coalition workgroup meetings.
  • Advance strategic planning, fundraising, and sustainability efforts-strategic planning efforts will be finalized in Summer 2007 and advanced. A sustainability plan is in place and is being moved forward. Fundraising efforts are the next level of effort.
  • Participate in poverty simulation training-This training will provide coalition members the background needed to adjust programming to meet the needs of all sectors of the Marion area.
  • Participate in county-level coalitions and efforts.
  • Conduct 5K Run/Walk-The first 5K Run/Walk was held in Fall 2006 and was very successful in multiple ways. The event is expected to continue.

Accomplishments:

  • The Coalition has been successful over the past 10+ years in addressing its priorities, as demonstrated through significant decreases in substance abuse. Workgroup meetings are held consistently and with good turnout.

Funding Source:

  • Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Local government, business, and other individuals contribution of time
 Community-Focused Activities

Partners/Roles:

Family resource center staff and Medical College of Wisconsin staff are engaged to accomplish these activities. They will be working with many sectors of the community (e.g., law enforcement, local government, and business) as the strategies are further developed.

Community-Focused activities:

  • Implement host law efforts-This is a 2007-2008 initiative that aims to increase community understanding of the risks and consequences of parents and adults hosting parties that involve underage drinking. It builds on the success of the Parent Network Directory (See "Family-Focused Resources")
  • Implement diversion program-This is a 2007-2008 initiative that will involve the court system and the utilization of best practice programs for addressing youth who offend with alcohol, drug, and related crimes.
  • Host Family and Community Town Suppers-Family and Community Town Suppers offer the opportunity for community members to come together to discuss common topics of interest while sharing a meal and having conversation.
  • Create and distribute newsletters-A Marion Area Family Resource Center newsletter is distributed quarterly to all parents, business, and others in the community.
  • The business collaborations-A new strategy that focuses on better understanding area businesses' needs and priorities around substance abuse, health, and wellness.
  • Develop and distribute prevention packet-Based on feedback from Sprint 2006 community forum, the Resource Center will be developing prevention packets for local businesses to distribute to their employees based on lifecycle status.
  • Participate in health fair-The Resource Center participates in the local health fair, which draws hundreds of people.
  • Partner with local health care organizations-The New London Family Medical Center and ThedaCare-New London are working with the Marion Area Family Resource Center to sponsor regular community presentations that focus on health issues important to the community.

Goal of the Activities:

  • Expand community understanding of and action around risks and consequences of substance abuse

Accomplishments:

  • Since 1998, 10 Family and Community Town Suppers have been held, with over 500 participants (duplicated count).
  • Two local ordinances were implemented for a community-wide event; the ordinances aimed at keeping the events safer.
  • A number of local businesses recently became engaged in discussions with the Resource Center regarding substance abuse and health implications for their employees.

Funding Source:

  • Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Local government, business, and other individuals contribution of time
 Marion Area Family Resources

Family-Focused Resources include a Marion Area Family Resource Center lending library, drop-in playtime, family events, information and referral services, and a Parent Network Directory. Through these and related programs, opportunities are available to residents of the Marion Area to build on individual and family strengths.

Partners/Roles:

Different partners are involved to a greater or lesser extent in each family resource program.

  • A planning group of community member have guided the Family Resource Center development;
  • Area churches and the local newspaper provides publicity for the Center and help promote current activities at the Center;
  • The City of Marion gives the Marion Area Family Resource Center rent-free space;
  • The City of Marion Police Department provides information on the laws around substance abuse and opportunities for prevention;
  • Area experts offer educational programming free of charge;
  • Community-based staff from the Center for Healthy Communities in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin help plan and implement these programs.

Goals of the Program:

  • Increase family strengths using an asset-based approach

Accomplishments:

  • Lending Library-The Marion Area Family Resource Center houses over 1000 books, videos, and toys. The materials cover a wide range of topics, from aging to infancy, from health to social.
  • Drop-In Playtime-A regular activity schedule is established (playtime occurs once a week), the program has been publicized, and new families regularly participate. Average participation is approximately seven adults and children per session (2006), which is comparable to family resource centers in larger communities.
  • Family Events-Family events are opportunities for families to come together, explore a particular topic or activity, and create lasting positive memories. Average participation was approximately 17 individuals, with eight events (2005).
  • Information and Referral Services-Information regarding local, state, and national resources has been gathered and is available for families. A newsletter, distributed by direct mail to all families in the school district, provides helpful hints, a calendar and other resources. The Resource Center also provides more focused information in the form of programs, workshops, and seminars.
  • Parent Network Directory-The directory provides parents with key information on the repercussions of different drugs and alcohol violations for youth and adults, and offer a list of parents who pledge to host only drug-and alcohol-free events/parties at their house.
  • Families that Care-Guiding Good Choices-This parenting program is for parents of middle and high school children. It is held once a year, and aims to give families tools to help prevent youth substance abuse. A local church mandates that parents of youth in its confirmation class participate in the program.
  • Parenting postcards-Age-specific postcards are mailed monthly to families with children in grades 4-9. These postcards provide brief, easy-to-remember suggestions and ideas for increasing youth assets. By mailing directly to the home, the aim is to reach a broader audience than by inviting people to attend an event or program.

Funding Source:

  • Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Marion Lioness Club contributed funds for Drop-In Playtime materials
  • St. John's Lutheran Church donated space for a period of six months
  • Marion United Fund, the Marion Lions Club, the Marion Lioness Club, and the City of Marion regularly donate funds
  • The partnership has secured a number of small state and county grants.
  • All these programs are sustained by staffing and other kinds of resources through the Drug-Free Communities Support Program, the Center for Healthy Communities, and significant community in-kin and volunteer contributions.

Community Links:

Marion Area Family Resource Center

 School-Focused Activites

School-focused activities include the implementation of model program universal prevention curriculum, a mentor program, a student service club and a youth advisory group. These efforts building connections between the community and the school, and build the capacity and assets of Marion's young people.

Partners:

  • School staff
  • Marion Area Family Resource Center staff
  • Medical College of Wisconsin staff
  • Community adult volunteers that participate in the mentor program

School-focused activities:

  • Helping Hands Mentor Program: The program paces adult community members in elementary school classrooms. Mentors often remain with the grade level from Kindergarten through 4th grade.
  • In-School Prevention Program: The program is entitled, Too Good for Drugs Too. The curriculum is implemented in grades K though 6, with some boosters in the middle school. This is a best practice program, and strong, positive pre-test/post-test data has been consistent.
  • Youth Community Service In-Service (CSI): This program is a community service youth club that involves students from grades 7 through 12.
  • Youth Advisory Committee: The development of this committee is underway. It will build off of the success of the CSI program.
  • Student orientations are provided by the school as young people enter grades 7 (from elementary to junior high) and 9 (from junior to senior high). Family resource center staff are on the agenda of that meeting to share resources and information with the parents.

Goal of the Activities:

  • Increase protective factors for elementary, middle, and high school children, including providing adult role models, increasing the community's valuing of youth, and providing support to families.

Accomplishments:

  • The mentors mentor about 200 students each year, and generally contribute between 200 and 300 hours to that effort.
  • Elementary students who participate in the Too Good for Drugs Too curriculum consistently show improvement from their pre-test to their post-test.
  • The CSI club has about 40 participating members (2005-2006), and generally contributes over 350 hours per calendar year.
  • The youth advisory committee will be implemented in 2006.

Funding Source:

  • Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • School District of Marion pays for in-school teaching and staffing
  • A small grant from Waupaca County provides some support for the CSI Program

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Page Updated 06/23/2015
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