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2013 saw growth in community’s efforts to fight illegal drugs

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As 2013 comes to a close, I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on some positive outcomes from the year. Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County is lucky to be a part of such a close-knit community and that is one of the main reasons for our success.

I have noticed how easy it is for individuals to see the negative aspects and dwell on them because sometimes they might overshadow the positive ones.

But here, I will shed some light on the optimistic outcomes that you may have subconsciously hid in the background.

This year Champions applied for and was awarded three mini grants for programs within our coalition, totaling around $7,000 through North Key Prevention’s CSNAP (Changing Social Norms and Policies) Grant, United Charities Grant and KY-ASAP Grant.

Along with these grants we are grateful to have received monetary donations from entities such as Carroll County Fiscal Court and FROGGY Radio Station nearing $5,000. With these extra funds, we have been able to prove sustainability with our federal grant from Drug Free Communities and provide extra programs and resources for Carroll County.

In numbers, Champions has reached over 1,000 students throughout the Carroll County school district with programs such as Red Ribbon Week, Grim Reaper Day, Junior Champions, CHAMPS and other assemblies/speakers that have been brought to students. Education has been the forefront this year, teaching students the dangers of drugs and alcohol and the devastating consequences substance abuse can cause.

Community collaboration has been strengthened, and our coalition has grown. Since Champions started in 2006, its membership has grown from just a few caring citizens to an entire room full of local professionals that gather each month to share ideas and give feedback. Throughout the years, there have been decreases and increases in numbers but in 2013 alone we have gained more members than ever.

We’ve also collaborated with some members of “Hope Against Dope.” We are happy to utilize our resources and mesh ideas and goals with members of other organizations, just as our mission statement proves.

Statistically speaking we can pinpoint some positive outcomes that have improved this year. In 2013 Champions hired a team from REACH of Louisville to compile an evaluation of our coalition, our Logic Model goals and objectives and our Kentucky Incentives Program data as a whole. These evaluations prove how far we’ve come as a coalition and what we have accomplished.

Hard copies of this evaluation are available in the Champions office or the Carroll County Public Library. The evaluation outlines statistics, improvements, pictures, events, newspaper clippings and overall highlights are included. Check it out if you get a chance.

Here are a few other outcomes:

• We’ve renewed our membership with Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America.

• We’ve purchased 70 at-home drug test kits for those individuals that need to be tested. Whether it be by an official or parent or guardian, they are available free of charge (with signed contract).

• We have increased knowledge through local and statewide trainings and maintained new staff and leadership roles among the coalition.

As coordinator of Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County I am very proud of how far our coalition has come and could continue a list of all of the great things we’ve accomplished in 2013, but, overall, we have become stronger in membership, raised extra funds beyond our federal DFC grant, reached thousands of student’s minds and accomplished goals that we set years ago. To me, this is a step in the right direction, and with these continued positive outcomes, we can decrease the negative outcomes tremendously.

Thanks to every individual in this community who has ever been a part of Champions or helped without knowing it – You made 2013 a success, and we can count on 2014 to bring even greater awareness, prevention, education and support through our programs and community partners.