Van Buren County SAFE Coalition Coordinator Heidi Bainbridge has recently been selected for some national opportunities to showcase the successes the SAFE Coalition has experienced locally. Van Buren County has seen measurable reductions in youth alcohol and tobacco use over the last five years. These reductions are due in part by the strategies the coalition has implemented to affect youth access to these substances as well as changing the acceptability of underage use of these drugs. The measurable successes have caused national organizations to take notice of the work of the SAFE Coalition. Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) awarded the coalition with the Got Outcomes! Coalition of the Year Award in 2011. This is quite an honor for a small town coalition in Iowa.
Bainbridge has been asked to share with others across the nation the strategies and work that led to the results that have been seen in Van Buren County. She spoke for the first time last year at the CADCA midyear conference in Anaheim, California on how to build a coalition in a rural community. She has been asked to return to Midyear again this summer in Nashville, Tennessee to speak on a similar topic: Community Mobilizing for Policy Change in a Rural Community. Bainbridge will also be serving as a personal coach at the Mid Year conference. Personal coaching allows new coalition leaders to learn from a seasoned coalition leader on the aspects of building a coalition. Bainbridge will primarily serve coalition members who live in rural areas and have questions about working in their specific community.
The SAFE Coalition’s work will also be featured on CADCA TV in June. The show is titled Understanding Your Influence and will feature Bainbridge as well as Sue Thau, CADCA Public Policy and Sue Parr from Community Coalitions of Virginia. The show will be a one-hour broadcast about transforming communities by mobilization and civic action. It will provide helpful hints on how to educate local, state and national decision makers and cover how to appropriately and effectively work for change, from local ordinances to national legislation. Viewers will learn how to become visible, vocal and, perhaps most importantly, valuable as you build relationships with policymakers.
Bainbridge was also recently appointed to the CADCA Coalition Advisory Committee to help guide the work of coalitions across the United States. The Coalition Advisory Committee, made up of 14 coalition leaders from across the country, is an important link between local coalitions and CADCA staff. The Committee ensures that CADCA’s programs accurately and effectively represent the challenges and concerns of community anti-drug coalitions. Its members:
• Provide input on the usefulness and quality of CADCA’s products and services in the areas of Public Policy and Research, Membership, Marketing, Training and Research
• Supply CADCA with quarterly feedback on emerging coalition successes, trends and challenges, including evaluation results and innovative program ideas
• Act as ambassadors to CADCA membership
Congratulations to the coalition for all of the success they have seen in the last 10 years. The good work of the SAFE Coalition in Van Buren County is getting noticed and the national work of coordinator, Heidi Bainbridge, will ensure that the issues of youth drug alcohol and tobacco use remain a priority for our community and our nation.