Communities That Care. We all make a difference!
The Communities That Care Coalition (CTC) brings together youth, parents, schools, community agencies, and local governments to promote the health and well-being of young people in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region. 
CTC is co-hosted by Community Action of the Franklin, Hampshire and North Quabbin Regions and the Partnership for Youth, a program of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments
For a quick introduction to CTC, watch a 3-minute video about the coalition's work.
October 2016 full Coalition meeting addresses health equity; Community Builder Award goes to Cheryl Dukes 

Cheryl L. Dukes, center, holds the Mike Fritz Community Builder Award. With her are Rachel Stoler, left, and Kat Allen of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments. Photo: Tess Jurgensen
Communities that Care Coalition members convened Oct 21 and adopted a new goal to "Increase health equity in Franklin County and the North Quabbin, specifically in our coalition's priority areas." The meeting also included a discussion of recent focus groups on food access, intercept surveys about healthy options in convenience stores, and the coalition's new Youth Leadership Initiative. The meeting concluded with a rousing acceptance speech from Cheryl Dukes of UMass Nursing School, this year's recipient of the Mike Fritz Community Builder Award. Cheryl has become a very familiar face in Coalition circles, as she has worked to build linkages between UMass and health and prevention intiatives in Franklin County and the North Quabbin. Find a longer write-up of Cheryl's award here.  Powerpoints from the meeting are available here.

New student health data now available for Franklin County and the North Quabbin  

Check the survey page for results of the 2016 Franklin County/North Quabbin Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The survey covers a wide range of health issues, including nutrition, physical activity, substance use, accidental injury, violence, and sexual behaviors. In the public release of the data on Oct 12, the Coalition focused on health disparities among area students by race and ethnicity, family income, and sexual orientation. The Coalition is examining these disparities as a prelude to adding new Coalition goals and efforts towards achieving health equity.

Community Resources Finder for North Central Massachusetts

The Regional Behavioral Health Collaborative, under the leadership of Heywood Healthcare and HealthAlliance Hospital, in partnership with other healthcare, mental health and community service organizations in the region, has developed an online resource tool, the North Central Massachusetts Community Resources Finder for all providers and clients in North Central Massachusetts and the North Quabbin Region.

Coalition publishes My Turn

Kat Allen's My Turn ran in the Greenfield Recorder last month, highlighting some of what parents of younger kids can do to prevent substance use.  In case you missed it, you can find the article here.

New Community Action Plan lays out the Coalition's work for the coming years
CTC's Coordinating Council and workgroups
recently completed work on
the Coalition's latest revision of its Community Action Plan. The document provides a comprehensive snapshot of the Coalition in 2016: its mission, vision and values, its organizational structure, logic models for its work, progress to date, and strategies it will use to address youth health and well being in the next few years.

Community Voices: needs assessment on local youth substance use
CTC recently completed a set of interviews and focus groups as a part of a community assessment on the topic of youth substance use. Coordinating Council members sought out interviews with school personnel, service providers, and law enforcement officials who work directly with youth who use, and held focus groups with parents and youth who are familiar with or embedded in local youth culture, including a high-risk segment of that culture. On March 17, community members are gathering in Greenfield High School to review findings from the community assessment and to share their own perspectives. Participants in this “Community Voices” session will also have the opportunity to view short videos that were created by area youth to share their experiences and knowledge about youth substance use. The assessment report is available here, and the five videos here.

Area schools implement LifeSkills curriculum

The Communities That Care Coalition, with support from the Opioid Task Force and Baystate Franklin Medical Center, sponsored two trainings in the past year to prepare area teachers to deliver the LifeSkills middle school curriculum. LifeSkills helps young people build key skills such as decision making, anger management, conflict resolution, and effective communication. It has a solid research base, with proven outcomes in reducing youth substance abuse and violence. Two area schools introduced LifeSkills into health classes in the 2014-2015 school year, and four others are beginning to use the curriculum in 2015-2016. Find more information about the LifeSkills program in this PowerPoint from CTC's spring 2015 full coalition meeting.

Parent Education Workgroup releases RFP for minigrants

The Communities That Care Coalition is pleased to announce the availability of mini-grants to support strategies that help meet the goals of the CTC Parent Education Workgroup, including: (1) providing evidence-based parent education to parents and caregivers of children age 9 through 18 years, and (2) strengthening family connection as a protective factor for youth. Funding is made possible by a grant from Baystate Franklin Medical Center. Proposals are due March 25, 2016. The RFP is available here, and the online application here.

Communities That Care Coalition recognized (again!) for its Successes as a Collective Impact Initiative
On November 12, 2015, the Collective Impact Forum released a report entitled How Public Policy Can Support Collective Impact, with a shout out to CTC for its successes in reducing youth substance use in Franklin County and the North Quabbin. CTC has previously been cited by the Collective Impact Forum and the Stanford Innovation Review as a model Collective Impact initiative. CTC has been operating with the principles of Collective Impact -- common agenda, shared measurement, mutually reinforcing activities, continuous communication and backbone support -- well before the term "Collective Impact" was coined. 
Communities That Care Coalition Releases Report on Local School Initiatives to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

At the fall full coalition meeting on October 2, CTC released Healthy Bodies, Active Minds, a report on best practices to promote healthy eating and physical activity in school. The report summarizes practices recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), highlights initiatives in local schools that are in keeping with CDC recommendations, and provides resources for implementing best practices. Accompanying the report is an inventory of local schools’ current efforts to improve nutrition, boost physical activity, and attend to student wellness.
Communities That Care Coalition Co-Chair Kat Allen Presents at Summit at White House

On June 10, 2014, Kat Allen represented the Communities That Care Coalition as one of several panelists presenting successful approaches in preventing substance abuse and promoting academic success in a day-long Policy Forum co-sponsored by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and the federal Department of Education.

"It is such an honor to be able to represent the Communities That Care Coalition and the amazing work that all of you do! And so exciting to be able to bring this work to the attention of national-level decision-makers with the hopes that we can influence national policy!" said Allen of the invitation.

The Coalition received high praise for its efforts and outcomes from the country's current acting Drug Czar, Michael Botticelli, as well as from the Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Services, Fran Harding (pictured on Allen's right, above). 


As a follow-up to the event, Allen (representing the Communities That Care Coalition) has been invited to present at the Trust for America's Health's first-ever National Forum on Hospitals, Health Systems & Population Health in October.

New Coordinating Council Members Elected

At the April 2014 Coalition meeting, several new member of the Coordinating Council were voted into office, including Barb Zaccheo of the Greenfield Recreation Commission and Corey Sanderson of Second Congregational Church, pictured below with Jessie Cooley of Big Brothers Big Sisters, a long-time member of the Council.

Newly Launched Collective Impact Forum Highlights Franklin County/North Quabbin Communities That Care Coalition! 
Click here to be redirected to the newly launched Collective Impact Forum that includes case studies and videos from successful Collective Impact initiatives around the world, including the Franklin County/North Quabbin Communities That Care Coalition!
Public Service Announcement by Shout Out!
Click here to view a fabulous new 1-minute Public Service Announcement created by local youth in Community Action Youth Program's Shout Out! group!!  Hear what keeps these amazing young people Above The Influence!

Shout Out! Above the Influence

Communities That Care Coalition featured in new Stanford Social Innovation Review Article!

Our Communities That Care Coalition, and particularly the work of the Parent Education Workgroup, has been featured yet again in another highly circulated article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review.  This article speaks to the need and ability for Collective Impact initiatives to nibly respond to changes and opportunities in the environment, and highlights CTC's Parent Education work as a successful example of how we can "embrace emergence" in order to make positive changes on complex issues.

Communities That Care Coalition Featured in Stanford Social Innovation Review

We are pleased to announce that the Communities That Care Coalition has been featured in a high-profile article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review (SSIR) as an example of a successful “Collective Impact” initiative!  Please click Channeling Change to read the article.

This article is a follow-up to another article the authors published in SSIR that made a big splash – it had multiple citations in the New York Times, the White House took interest, and it has remained in the top 3 downloads on SSIR for over a year…  I had the article forwarded to me from 3 different sources and thought it was absolutely fabulous!  This original article is called “Collective Impact” and it coined this term to refer to “the commitment of a group of important actors from different sectors to a common agenda for solving a specific social problem”.  The article explains how collective impact is more than collaboration, that it involves shared goals, shared measurement, and a backbone organization to coordinate the activities of the many agencies involved.  Please click Collective Impactto find this original article and accompanying posts.

We could not be more excited about this coverage and the article's ringing endorcement of the coalition's work - all due to the fantastic collaboration of so many wonderful and committed partners.  Thank you to all of you for your hard work and dedication, and for the commitment to community that it takes to make collective impact work!


Kat & Lev

p.s. To read a recent blog post about our Parent Education Workgroup's efforts click here, and to see a 2-minute video about Collective Impact, please click here!

What Is Collective Impact?