The Lake of the Woods County Prevention Coalition recently established its vision of “Creating a community culture that empowers youth to be alcohol, tobacco and drug free.” It takes a dedicated and ever-growing team of people working together to realize this vision. This week’s LWPC Spotlight features coordinator, Tammie Doebler.
What does the Lake of the Woods County Prevention Coalition do?
Tammie: The L/W coalition is bringing together youth, parents, schools, law enforcement, media, ministerial, healthcare, businesses, civic and volunteer groups, other youth serving organizations and local government to all work towards keeping our youth healthy and safe by preventing underage, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Each group brings resources with them that can make a very strong unit. By having so many different groups involved, we are able to get a lot of different ideas, opinions and feedback. We are also then able to share resources (local, state and national). This can save time, money and energy.
We are data driven, so we will also be collecting data throughout the county through surveys (parent, community and youth) and one to one conversations. The information gathered will help us determine what the perceptions, thoughts and feelings are of the people who live in Lake of the Woods county.
What is Positive Community Norms and why are you hopeful that these messages will make an impact on our community and youth?
Tammie: Positive Community Norms (PCN) is a framework seeking to grow the positive norms that already exist in our county. One way we do this is by presenting data that reflect the positive behaviors and beliefs in our community relating to underage. The concept is to feature positive prevention messaging instead of scare tactics. Often our perception of what is happening is very different from what is really going on. PCN incorporates 3 approaches, Spirit (what we care about), Science (local data), and Action (what we can do). One of the Coalition’s goals is to recognize the positive choices being made by youth and adult community members. Lake of the Woods Community members will soon see messages that focus on what is really happening in our community. These messages will be relayed through print advertising, radio commercials, posters, billboards, website, community and school events and more.
What are you most looking forward to over the next five years through your involvement with the coalition?
Tammie: What I am most looking forward to is youth involvement. The youth in this community will have a strong input on many aspects of what we plan on doing. Our students have such a strong voice and influence over each other as well as adults; they absolutely need to be involved. For example, we are currently in the process of designing new billboards by the entrance of the school. We need the student’s input on these messages. If we put out a message for the youth that doesn’t connect with them then we’ve pretty much wasted time, energy and funds. By seeking out and respecting the student’s perspective we are able to understand better how to reach them and where to reach them.
How and why would you encourage other people in the community to support the efforts of the Lake of the Woods Prevention Coalition?
Tammie: I would encourage people to get involved because a few people can accomplish good things, but many people can accomplish great things. By pulling together our communities resources we can work collectively to keep our youth healthy and safe.
The Lake of the Woods County Prevention Coalition is funded through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division. If you would like to find out more about the Coalition or perhaps become a member of the coalition, please contact Tammie or Joyce by calling the Lake of the Woods School, 1-218-634-2510 ext. 1100, or visit the website at www.lwpcstory.com.