The Van Buren County SAFE Coalition is a key player in reducing the use of drugs, alcohol and tobacco in the youth of Van Buren County. They could not do it on their own and owe some of their success to the partnership they have built with Iowa’s Alliance of Coalitions for Change or AC4C.
What is AC4C you may be asking? The Alliance of Coalitions is a statewide network of prevention coalitions from all across the state of Iowa. Their mission is to unify Iowa prevention coalitions to affect positive change. It is about bringing together the resources all across the state of Iowa to enhance what everyone is doing. The coalitions have an opportunity to network and learn from one another while working toward state initiatives.
The Alliance has a no cost membership for coalitions and provides services free of charge such as capacity building through technical assistance and training, advocates for statewide substance abuse prevention and networking with other Iowa coalition. The alliance also has close ties to state organizations that are integral to the work of prevention coalitions these include; Criminal and Juvenile Justice Planning, Iowa Department of Public Health, Office of Drug Control Policy, Iowa State Patrol, Iowa Alcoholic and Beverage Division, Midwest Counter Drug Training Center and the Department of Education.
AC4C holds quarterly retreats in Johnston for all members to come together to network and work toward the goals of the AC4C organization. The group breaks into three subcommittees who work to provide services and resources for coalitions across the state. These workgroups consist of:
Training and Resources workgroup- They identify and work to meet training and technical assistance needs of community coalitions. They link new and experienced coalitions for technical assistance and provide information regarding resources on training and technical assistance needs of Iowa coalitions.
Capacity Workgroup- This group is responsible for disseminating information to potential and current AC4C members. They promote involvement in the AC4C organization among Iowa communities and other entities as well as increase the awareness of the need for and promote action to have a substance abuse free Iowa.
Legislative Workgroup- This group is responsible for collaborating with community and statewide entities to advocate and education on substance abuse policies, legislation and related issues.
By being a member of AC4C the Van Buren County SAFE Coalition has gained a valuable network of coalitions and partners that they can reach out to when working on related issues in our own community. This provides strength in numbers for the work being done in Iowa and it maximizes the few financial resources that we are allocated to complete the important prevention work that the coalition does in the county.