Build a healthier community by preventing and reducing harmful substance use behaviors in Kent County, with a major focus on youth.
Promote a healthier community for all by developing a substance use prevention system that fills gaps in services, prioritizes resources and reduces overlap.
Coalition building, collaborative problem solving, and community development are some of the most effective interventions for change available to us today. Coalitions are partnerships of the many sectors of a community which gather together collaboratively to solve the community’s problems and guide the community’s future. When they are driven by citizen-identified issues, citizens become involved in all steps of the problem solving process.
The KCPC serves as a primary conduit to residents and community leaders, through which they can learn about emerging trends in youth substance use behaviors, as well as gain access to education and training to prevent it through multiple learning communities hosted by the KCPC. Such trainings have helped strengthen cross-sector partnerships that support the coalition’s efforts to mobilize resources in addressing youth substance use and promote healthy lifestyles. Youth development opportunities provided by community stakeholders like Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, the Boys and Girls Club, Tall Turf, Baxter Community Center, YMCA, GVSU TrioUpward Bound, Wedgwood Christian Services, Cherry Street, and area faith-based youth programming like Young Life serve as vehicles for informing the community about prevention. Each of the aforementioned organizations have a mission of improving the protective factors we know aid in preventing youth substance use. While resources are available, they are not adequate to meeting the growing rate of youth use.
Our community also faces a lack of coordination among various available prevention entities. Lack of coordination inhibits the identification of existing and emerging gaps that need attention as well as opportunities for the development of trust, transparency, and transfer of knowledge. In order to address these challenges, the coalition has been involved in building cooperative relationships across municipal and organizational boundaries to unify county-level approaches to youth substance use issues. The KCPC has an extensive affiliate and active membership network from the twelve Drug Free Communities Sectors (youth, parents, business, media, schools, state / local government, youth serving organizations, religious, civic / volunteer groups, healthcare, law enforcement, and other alcohol, tobacco & other drug organizations). With membership support and community interest, the KCPC is positioned to become the lead organization for youth substance use prevention for Kent County.