Center for Healthy Communities & Research

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Marion Area Coalition for Healthy Communities

Marion Initiative

The Center for Healthy Community has a long-term partnership with the Marion are.  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.


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
© 2015 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 06/09/2014