Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Working Together for a Drug Free Community

Sometimes is good to be a fly on the wall.  Recently, my antennae picked up a conversation about some possible money that could be available to communities to help fund some work around drug and alcohol prevention. 

Now while the Drug Free Communities grant is usually posted in January, I thought it might be a good idea to give a few of the NYC partnerships the heads up so they could begin working on some of the more specific requirements usually called for in the proposal.

Good News - The grant is for five year at 125,000 per year to fund community partnerships in addressing the community level risk factors of underage drinking and substance abuse.  Communities have been able to apply for no more than ten years. 

The grant is given to established community partnerships around for a minimum of six months of formal activity.  It follows the Strategic Prevention Framework and requires the group to have specific components at the time of applying.  These include:
  • The coalition must have at least one representative from the required 12 sectors, as outlined in the RFA and the Drug Free Communities Act of 1997;
  • The coalition must maintain meeting minutes that demonstrate that it is a unique entity that has substantial involvement from its members and is working toward to the two goals of the DFC program;
  • The coalition must address multiple (more than one) drugs per year in its annual Strategic/Action Plans for each year of funding;
  • The coalition must have as its principal mission the reduction of youth substance use;
  • The coalition has not already received 10 years of DFC funding; and
  • The coalition must capture and provide the data required by the DFC National Evaluation.
So, consider this your six month wake up call.  If you have been looking for another incentive to continue the great work that your partnership has been doing or just looking for an excuse to motivate and galvanize the troops...look no further.   While the DFC grant is not an absolute guarantee, it will help strengthen your group and give members something to strive for.

See...I told you it was good to be a fly on the wall.

Until next time,


For complete information about the Drug Free Communities here

Friday, June 24, 2011

Picking the Right Leadership

Recently, someone asked me my thoughts about what characteristics a community leader should possess.  My immediate response was humility.

In order for a person to be a really effective leader, they have to be willing to know their faults, limitations, and weaknesses.  Now, I bet that some people think would have gone in the other direction and said things like "strength", "confidence", and "daring".  While I definitely agree that a leader should have all of those things, I would place the ability to be humble above the others.

Understanding the traits that you don't have allows you to identify and work with those that help compliment your weaker points.  It makes its easier to delegate tasks and empower others to take ownership of what you will need them to do.  It places people into positions of shared powers and allows them to speak more openly and honestly about topics and issues they observe and may have. 

Having this type of equal dynamic is necessary when working as part of a community partnership.  Participants must feel that the role they play is vital to the success and failure of the group and its goal.  Every group is only as important as it members; and the members are every bit as important as its leaders.

Until next time,


Monday, June 13, 2011

Youth in Washington Height & Inwood Makes Learning A Top Priority (UNIDOS)

Hi all...

Check out this reprinted article from the NYC Prevention Resource Center....

- CW

Fundraiser for Washington Heights & Inwood Youth Council 
Washington Heights/Inwood Youth Representing Agents of Change

The Washington Heights and Inwood Youth Council (WHIYC) is dreaming big and working hard! WHIYC dreamed of creating a free event educating the community about underage drinking and teen pregnancy. They designed flyers and posters as well as speak about personal struggles as teens, how they overcame them, and why teens should make positive decisions for the well-being of their community.

Indeed, they dreamed, worked, and empowered youth to become the agents of change. Now, WHIYCWashington Hgts - Inwood Youth Council Logo aspires to attend the July 2011 National Youth Leadership Initiative (NYLI) conference in Orange County, California. This conference is sponsored by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA).  The NYLI is a series of intensive workshops that enhances their abilities to tackle problems in the community. WHIYC needs to raise $13,000 (that's $1300 per member) in order to attend the annual conference.  

The Youth Council has participated in flea markets, written letters to businesses, and soon will coordinate a bake sale at a local Christian academy. The conference helps increase their knowledge on how to identify, address and solve the problems in their community. With these new resources WHIYC will be able to implement what they learned and apply those resources to make evident change. Please help them make the Washington Heights & Inwood community a better and safer place with your donations!
Interested in here
(Write "UNIDOS Fundraiser" in your donation memo/note)

For more information, please contact Othanya Garcia, WHIYC President or Daisy Gil, WHIYC, Vice President at 646-353-4321.  

Attend a Karaoke Night to support the WHIYC

Drug Free Bed Stuy Presents....


Tuesday, June 14, 2011
6:00pm to 7:30

It’s Prom and Senior Class Trip Season! Parents, caregivers, and all those interested in keeping our youth drug-free.
Learn what is going on in the community and in the minds of the youth to protect your children away from harmful drugs

Learn proactive prevention steps that will reduce substance abuse risks for adolescents

Become empowered to influence youth in your life

Workshop presented by Drug Free Bed-Stuy Coalition
and will be held at:
Macon Branch
Brooklyn Public Library
361 Lewis Ave. at Macon St.
Brooklyn, NY 11233

For more information
Christine Fonseca at 212-252-7001

Glimspe of the Future By Looking at the Past

Recently, I had the opportunity to check out a long standing community partnership/coalition in the Bronx as saw firsthand where many of the new group want to end up.  On a sunny and warm afternoon in a quiet and very unassuming building, close to twenty people representing a wide variety of community interests and institutions attended their last coalition meeting before summer break.  Surrounded by shelves filled with materials from several Evidence Based Practices they have implemented in the community, the members of the Throggs Neck Community Action Partnership (TNCAP)  brainstormed ideas on where to conduct a community survey around underage drinking; listened to the local precinct representative report on staff changes that could affect their crackdown on C-summons distributed in the area, and recounted some of the great work that had been accomplished over the winter months such as a Bottle Tagging Campaign during the Holiday season.

As a partnership with more than a decade working together, I was amazed by the genuine enthusiasm shown by its members, many of whom were involved since its formation in 1999.  Despite working independently in local schools, organizations, and civic areas, the members still shared a sense of camaraderie in sharing information and thoughts about how they could make a difference in the community.  As members shared a list of upcoming events, others offered their help and support, saying they would try their best to attend.  It was the air of true friendships and relationships that comes from individuals working towards a common goal.

As I travel across the city and observe new partnerships struggling with the challenges that are natural when trying to figure out the benefits of working with others, it can be a little disheartening to new communities to stay the course as they seek out others to join their cause.  The ability to understand and inspire is a difficult skill and takes time and each person looks for their own reasons to be a part of a partnership.  After all, nobody said this process was easy.  It is a marathon that goes through a lot of hills and valleys and its easy to get turned around on the way.   For the partnerships to have something like TNCAP to model themselves after is a bright spot for everyone.  I applaud TNCAP for everything they have done and the oaths blazed along the way and encourage the new groups to reach out and say hello to the pioneers in the Bronx.

Until next time,