We’re interviewing Jen Levins, Communities That Care Coordinator in Schoolcraft 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 Schoolcraft County?
It started in the area in 2016, and we conducted our first CTC Youth Survey in December of that year. We’ll be doing our second survey this year.
What kind of goals does CTC have for your community?
Our mission is to be a family-oriented community committed to fostering engaged and resilient youth. We do that by working with different agencies and community members to bridge gaps in prevention services. Our current priorities are to increase awareness around the negative impacts of drug use, and to address depressive symptoms. Our Resource Assessment Work Group recently finished our Resource Assessment Report, which looks at existing resources in our community and identifies areas where we need more. Now, our Risk and Protective Factors Work Group is developing a Community Action Plan to decide how we want to address the priorities in our county.
What kind of events has your coalition held or participated in recently?
We had a youth logo contest early last school year, which is where our awesome logo came from—it was created by a young person here in our community! We held a Key Leader Orientation in February to educate leaders about CTC and bring them on board the CTC prevention process. Key leader support is really important to the success of any coalition.
In May, we held a “Let Your Light Shine” dance at Manistique Middle/High School. This was something the middle schoolers in our Youth Involvement Work Group decided they wanted to do, and they really took ownership of it. They talked to the principal to get permission, they decided on a suicide prevention theme, they designed bracelets with Dial Help’s crisis line contact info on them and put Dial Help magnets up on every locker. It was amazing to see them get excited about this and make it happen—plus they were developing skills around event planning, an example of the Social Development Strategy in action.
Last month we held mini Community Board Orientation for people in the community to learn more about CTC. There were three of these educational events in one day, so people could come at their leisure and learn about the CTC process. We were also at FolkFest, and our Suicide Prevention Work Group was at the Schoolcraft County Fair.
What are you most excited about coming up next?
Starting August 1, whenever anyone likes, shares, or comments on a post from our Facebook page, they will be entered in a contest. Every Friday we’ll draw from the names that week and give away a prize—we have a nice variety of prizes. Our goal is to raise awareness about our coalition and get to 300 likes on our Facebook page.
The Walk for Prevention will be on August 18, this is the third year of this walk. It’s a chance to learn about preventing bullying, suicide, substance use, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Five different agencies work together to put this on. Our Youth Involvement Work Group will be hosting a project, with youth telling the story of someone’s opioid addiction as people move down the boardwalk, the events that led to addiction, and at the end of the boardwalk there will be an info table with resources for prevention and treatment.
And we’re hosting a Volleyball Tournament on August 12, with funds going to bring evidence-based Positive Action programming to our elementary school.
Schoolcraft CTC Collaborative is funded by NorthCare Network and coordinated by Great Lakes Recovery Centers. Schoolcraft CTC Collaborative is part of UP Coalition Network, an umbrella organization of the 14 CTCs covering all 15 counties of the UP.