Editor’s Note: This post was provided by Kim Geislinger, LADC, VP of Ross Resources. Kim is the Itasca County Truancy Prevention Program Director and the Coordinator of the Itasca County Family Services Collaborative. Kim was an active member of the Student Success Core Team and now serves on the SPARK Council.
Five years ago the Deer River community embarked on an effort to address underage drinking through a comprehensive effort. Aided by the financial support provided through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the community set out to strengthen collaboration among community entities to reduce substance use among youth. Grantees worked with the Montana Institute’s Positive Community Norm framework.
Deer River’s success in the last 5 years allows them to transition to a Drug Free Community Grant, which will provide an additional 5 years of funding.
In an effort to continue to the work in the Itasca Co. area, a group gathered over a year ago, to begin the application process to fund the Grand Rapids High School with a P&I grant.
We were notified in the Spring that GRHS was one of 9 communities in the State to receive funding for Cohort 3, beginning July 1,2016 and ending July 1, 2021. Nick Adams has been hired as the grant Coordinator and he will be housed at the GRHS. Nick and the coalition forming to guide the effort will be working to replicate Deer River’s success in Grand Rapids.
SPARK’S goals are moving forward in Deer River because of all the hard work of the coalition’s work. SPARK will build partnerships with the Grand Rapids coalition. SPARK hopes to learn from what the Grand Rapids coalition is doing and will bring those lessons to other communities in the region.