Members are brought together by a formal board type structure to make decisions, set polices and procedures and to create the community’s landscape for substance abuse prevention services. The Kent County Prevention Coalition (KCPC) meets monthly as a general assembly and operates using Robert Rules of Order. General assembly meetings are led / facilitated by elected leadership (Co-Chairs) following a meeting structure focused on action, discussion, and informational items. Action / decision items may include but are not limited to: grant opportunities, community prioritization, leadership, strategic planning, and project opportunities. Decisions are made by a simple majority of voting members present.
Volunteer and member engagement within the KCPC operates on a ‘member begat member’ process. The coalition draws from the position, power, and politics of its members for continual recruitment and engagement. This process typically begins through the invitation of prospective members to coalition meetings, events, learning communities, or weekly online community e-blast which reaches 300 people every week.
Once a prospective member is identified existing members and coalition leadership seek to build linkages to foster a relationship with the prospective member. Often members will connect via Facebook, learn that they have children attending the same school, or meet for coffee because of aligned organizational needs. From our experience, creating opportunities via the coalition to foster relationship-building is the biggest contributor to the development of long-term partnerships which create sustainability and breed coalition engagement.
New members typically join the coalition as involved or affiliate members who lend their expertise to a coalition endeavor that aligns with their interests and organizational goals. Membership begins with an annual orientation; following orientation new members are assigned a mentor from the membership committee. Through the mentorship process, new members are introduced to coalition subcommittees and often get engaged quickly in a subcommittee, ad hoc committee, or an event planning initiative.
The coalition recognizes the importance of representation from the 12 Drug Free Community (DFC) sectors as essential to achieve environmental success in youth substance use prevention. However, many members come to the table with varying degrees of knowledge regarding prevention science. Learning communities like Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) webcasts, medical marihuana training, positive youth development, emerging issues, and Data101 are used in conjunction with a coalition orientation to ensure that all members are on the same page.
* Denotes Member at Large Organizations.