We’re interviewing Carrie Rich, Communities That Care Coordinator in Baraga County. Communities That Care (CTC) is a type of coalition focused on preventing youth problem behaviors. You can find your local CTC at www.UPprevention.org.
How long has CTC been going in Baraga County?
Our CTC has been in Baraga County since 2014, so about four years now.
What impact do you hope your CTC will have?
I hope that as people start to recognize the need we have to model healthier behaviors for our youth and break some of the generational cycles going on, we’ll have more people involved. We’re doing anything and everything we can do to make that happen and create a cultural shift from unhealthy to healthy choices. The first step is always the hardest one to take, but we are on our way to something better.
“Many hands, make light work.” We really can make a change if we all pitch in. The more people that are made aware of CTC and get energized about the movement and get involved, the better. Help us make Baraga County a great place to live, work, and play!
What surprised you the most when you first learned about CTC?
I was really surprised about the range of youth issues that CTC covers: substance use, delinquency, violence, depression/anxiety, and more. You’re not just tackling one issue, you’re combatting the whole scope of things that put our young people at risk. When you look at the big picture of a community, you start to see that a lot of these “risk factors” are connected. By making changes to one (or more), you affect change across the board to many others.
I had never heard of CTC before I got involved, and I was surprised how much it works on culture change. We’re not putting a Bandaid on things—we’re looking at long-term solutions. CTC is a lot of little steps that add up over time to big change. The range of the impact is huge.
What do your coalition members like the most about CTC?
They like the energy that they see coming out of CTC right now. We’ve really gotten things moving and we’re re-energizing our key leaders and community members, and it’s exciting to see that we’re actively working to move forward.
What are you most excited about coming up?
We’ve got so much going on right now! We linked up with KBIC services to do a series of “Movies in the Park” this summer at the L’Anse Waterfront Park. We are promoting healthy family interaction and fun prosocial events to help the community find ways to spend time together that doesn’t revolve around current unhealthy trends in our area. Our next movies are Paddington 2 on July 20, and Black Panther (PG-13) on August 10. The movies are free, just bring your blankets or chairs. Popcorn and snacks will be for sale by the KBIC Youth Program.
We’re also doing our first Warr;or Walk for suicide prevention on September 8 in downtown L’Anse. The semicolon in the name is inspired by Project Semicolon. This is our new version of the Out of the Darkness Walk we’ve held for the past few years. We decided to change from Out of the Darkness because it allows us to keep 100% of the funds in Baraga County and focus on the needs that are here.
Baraga County CTC is funded by NorthCare Network and coordinated by Child & Family Services. Baraga County CTC is part of UP Coalition Network, an umbrella organization of the 14 CTCs covering all 15 counties of the UP.