The Steering Team is a group of individuals from 12 different sectors in the community including parents, education, healthcare, business, civic, government, faith, youth-serving agencies, substance abuse prevention agencies, media, law enforcement and business who come to the table each month to help steer the coalition in the direction that is going to be the most effective for our youth. This team is open to anyone in the North Fayette Valley Community who would like to help make decisions for the coalition. Also the Steering Team consists of individuals who carry out duties such as setting meeting agendas, leading the monthly meetings, approving requests for reimbursement of funds, signing checks, and approving and signing required paperwork for grants.
Steering Team invites anyone with a passion to move the coalition forward to join. Meetings are an open forum that meets monthly, 1st Tuesday at 5:15 pm, at the VCC Office. Monthly meetings are discussion on plans and important issues regarding the coalition. Decisions are based on the consensus of the Steering Team. Planning and talking about important issues regarding the coalition is central to these meetings. Youth contribute valuable input into the Steering Team meetings, as well.
All Coalition Meetings
The coalition meets to celebrate the work of the coalition and to keep everyone updated on current issues. These meetings always have great food and conversation where new individuals are encouraged to attend. For meeting times, contact VCC Office – 563-426-5599
The VCC began in the summer of 2000. Students came to adults asking for help on how to deal with peer pressure to drink alcohol and experiment with drugs. One of the teenage girls had problems dealing with the substance abuse of a boyfriend. The boyfriend drank heavily and was starting to experiment with “harder” substances.
At this point adults started asking questions of each other and began to look for more information in the community. They discovered that the levels of drug and alcohol use were much higher than anyone had thought, and that the youth of the community were feeling pressure to experiment. Youth also reported pressure to link substance use with sexual relations.
While information has been available in the community to warn about experimentation, much of the peer pressure is linked with false information which gives substance use a glamorous appeal.
The parents invited others to join them and the Valley Community Coalition was formed in the early fall of 2000. People responded and though still in its infancy, the coalition has grown to a solid membership of 120 active community members.
In the first weeks of organization, the depth of denial in the community became apparent. Angry phone calls and threats were received and have strengthened the conviction and determination of core members. Many in the community use the excuse that youth have always drank, and feel that it is a part of growing up.
Parents began to link their efforts with local law enforcement and substance abuse professionals. Participants began to feel that their actions could make a difference and law enforcement and other professionals felt the broader support in the community. The coalition became the hub that facilitated referrals for help, and encouraged and supported the interventions of the Sheriff’s Department.
From a meeting of a few people around a dining room table to a successfully functioning group that has had, is having, and will have great success, this is a wonderful story. The early meetings of just a few concerned adults turned into a meeting with over 100 adults and youth. The youth and adults who attended now know that there is support available locally for them. The VCC has been described as “the fastest growing community coalition in Iowa” and “a model coalition.” And now the work continues–attending events and meetings on a regular basis.