Spotlight on Chippewa County
We’re interviewing Steve Carey, Communities That Care Coordinator in Chippewa 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 Chippewa County?
Well the CTC just started up in Chippewa County. We’ve had our substance abuse coalition for quite some time, but we just adopted the CTC model. We held our Key Leader Orientation at the end of June, and our Community Board Orientation just took place at the end of July.
What kind of goals does CTC have for your community?
We’re so new, we’re still figuring out our specific goals. But we’ve always had a mission to reduce substance abuse, to educate people about prevention and treatment, and support continued recovery for people who are living with addiction. So we want to continue along those lines, with a bigger emphasis on making the community safer for youth and a better place to raise our kids.
What kind of events has your coalition held or participated in recently?
The Key Leader Orientation is the first step in bringing CTC to the area. We had a good turnout of different community leaders—we had people from county government, school districts, faith leaders, business leaders, and sport teams. Senator Wayne Schmidt came by to see what was going on, he was very interested, taking pictures and promoting our CTC on Facebook. There aren’t as many CTCs downstate, it’s not like what we have with CTCs across the whole UP. We also had people from the Coast Guard, law enforcement, overall it was a good, diverse group at this first training. There was a lot of energy, excitement about how the community can work together and what can happen when we focus as a group on proven effective programs and approaches.
The Community Board Orientation in July was a whole different group of people—these folks will be boots on the ground rather than leadership support. Although we did have two key leaders who actually joined the coalition because they wanted to be more hands on. Again we had a pretty diverse group, with faith leaders, the county commissioner, people from the school districts, social services, Sault Tribe of Chippewa Indians. We also had community members outside the prevention field who had just heard about the CTC and wanted to learn more. We have our work groups formed, meetings on the schedule, and there are more people contacting me about joining. It’s a good foundation to move forward.
What are you most excited about coming up next?
I’m just excited to see it all coming together. People are getting the idea of how CTC works and what a coalition can really do when we’re all on same page and take action. The great thing about CTC being evidence-based is that it has identifiable steps to take and make progress. Next we’ll be looking at holding the CTC Youth Survey in schools, and so far we’ve got conversations going with quite a few schools that are interested.
There is a CTC in Bay Mills, so we’re also going to look at combining data and information. We want to show people what’s going on in OUR community. This isn’t Detroit or Lansing—we need to identify our local problems. Then we can look at what we can do to solve them.
Chippewa County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is funded by NorthCare Network and coordinated by Chippewa County Health Department. Chippewa County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition is part of UP Coalition Network, an umbrella organization of the 14 CTCs covering all 15 counties of the UP.