We’re interviewing Mary Harris, Communities That Care Coordinator in Marquette 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 Marquette County?
The Marquette County Cares Coalition has been around since the 1990s. It changed names several times, but has been the same core group of people. Our coalition adopted the evidence-based CTC model in January 2017.
What kind of goals does CTC have for your community?
Our coalition is working to address risk factors for early alcohol and drug use. In Marquette County, the priority risk factors we identified are “Low commitment school” and “Low perceived risk of drug use.” We’re always working on community education around the problem, too. Our vision is promoting a safe, healthy, and supportive community by giving opportunities, recognition, and skills to further develop youth, family, and community.
What kind of events has your coalition held or participated in recently?
We organized a series of Value of Prevention events to provide information and skills to community members. Our coalition helped bring documentaries to Marquette County, including Screenagers and The Ripple Effect. We’ve had a number of fundraisers: a Kickball Tournament in July, and the Golf Classic with the Western Marquette County Health Foundation in September.
We also held our first CTC Youth Survey in the schools in the spring of 2018. We had students from sixth, eighth, tenth, and twelfth grades participate. This survey helps us select our priority risk factors based on the unique concerns of our local youth. We use this data to select and seek funding for programs that fit our county needs.
What are you most excited about coming up next?
Our annual PSA competition for youth is going to open again in October. Youth compete by creating their own public service announcement about living a healthy, drug-free lifestyle. We also have a Spuds Not Drugs volunteer celebration coming up in November, which is being organized by our Youth Group.
Our Youth Group, the Marquette County Teen Team (MT2) meets at least monthly during the school year, and a couple of times over the summer. MT2 organized a fundraiser for their first sticker shock campaign, which was held this summer just before the Fourth of July. A sticker shock campaign is when a youth group partners with local law enforcement and retailers, like Econo Foods, to urge adults to not provide alcohol to minors. Youth place stickers on alcoholic beverages that remind the public of the risks of alcohol consumption to minors. It’s wonderful to have youth involved in the community, developing their own activities and using their own voices to encourage others to choose a healthy lifestyle.
Right now Marquette County Cares is raising money to buy the Craves book for youth in second to fourth grades. We have partnered with Baraga County CTC and Ontonagon County CTC bring author Robb Johnston to the UP to share his inspiring books with youth, and to help youth learn about body cravings in a way that is age appropriate and fun. If you are looking for a way to get involved in prevention work in Marquette County, consider sponsoring Craves books for youth in your neighborhood.
To get involved or to donate to local prevention work in Marquette County, contact the CTC by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 906-315-2613. You can find more info at www.facebook.com/mqtco2.
Marquette County Cares Coalition is funded by NorthCare Network and coordinated by the Marquette County Health Department. Marquette County Cares Coalition is part of UP Coalition Network, an umbrella organization of the 14 CTCs covering all 15 counties of the UP.