Coalition Work During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Hi everyone,

I’m Lauren Blackwell, CADCA’s new Membership Sales Associate. I’m so excited to be part of CADCA, and to get to know each of you!

I’m writing today to share resources and ideas from discussions in the CADCA Community that addressed coalition work during the COVID-19 pandemic. In early April, a Trainer Takeover Week was held in the Community, with youth and adult trainers hosting live chat discussions on a variety of topics. Members shared many examples of the great work they are doing in their local communities, and we thank everyone who participated in the discussions! Below is a sample of the ideas that were shared:

  • The Madison Chatham Coalition offered remote podcasts that engaged different sectors and focused on topics related to primary prevention for each episode. At the end of each podcast, the Youth Coalition recorded their thoughts on the interview. They have an RSS feed on their website and linked directly to that, where they shared the podcasts with their members and community.
  • The Community Action Commission of Fayette County partnered with Meals on Wheels to distribute at-home medication safe disposal pouches through their program.
  • The Tehama County Drug Free Community Coalition worked with their local waste department to put a blurb in the department’s newsletter about the county's two permanent disposal kiosks. 
  • The Nashua Prevention Coalition launched a Virtual Video Project, which they used to encourage families with youth to create short videos about what they were doing to stay resilient during COVID-19. The coalition shared these videos on their social media outlets and reached out to many of coalition members (SAPs, law enforcement, mental health professionals, etc.) and asked them to make positive videos with ideas for coping strategies or just to say hello, so youth knew they still had community support during COVID-19.  
  • The Monroe County Substance Abuse Coalition posted ads with messages of hope on billboards and bus ads in their community as part of a regional opioid media campaign. If other coalitions have someone in recovery who would be willing to send a picture and a quote about their path to recovery, this could be replicated. The images could be posted on social media sites with various organizations and/or in the local newspaper, if billboards and bus ads do not fit into an organization’s budget.Partnership for Health engaged students using virtual Kahoot games through Zoom. The questions were a mix of pop culture questions, as well as questions about drug and alcohol. Their students greatly enjoyed Kahoot!
  • The Community Action Commission of Fayette County has a strong relationship with the faith community. Working together, they made plans to attend a weekly lunch for the pastoral association to introduce themselves, connect and offer their support. They hope to further connect with the faith community, using these weekly lunches as a starting point.
  • RyeACT’s Youth Action Team planned an Instagram “Coronavirus Challenge,” in which youth posted a picture or video to help encourage others and show how they were staying “healthy and safe” during this time. Challenge participants tagged the RyeACT Youth Instagram account, and also tagged three friends to challenge them to create a post (also tagging RyeACT Youth and challenging three more friends).
  • Adult leaders from multiple Westchester County coalitions worked together to connect youth from different towns to create a video to share with their peers. The concept for the video was a "hang in there" message, with tips for staying mentally healthy (and substance free) during stressful times.
  • It Takes a Community created a billboard with images of their Youth Ambassadors on it and informed youth members that it had gone up and told the youth how proud they were of them!
  • Tualatin Together worked on a resilience-focused handout to distribute with the 800 meals being delivered weekly to local families in need.
  • Hampden-Wilbraham Partners for Youth partnered with their school district to share resources directly from their website.
  • The Smith County Drug Prevention Coalition wrote an article about self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic for their local newspaper to help get the word out about building resiliency. You can read the article here.
  • Decatur Prevention Initiative held an informative "Parenting in a Pandemic" session using Zoom. Panelists included the head school nurse, lead social worker, a school counselor and a parenting coach from the community. Handouts were also provided via website.
  • The 21 Alliance Prevention Coalition Sources of Strength peer leaders and adult advisors created social media campaigns to share their message of hope, help and strength. 
  • Marin Healthy Youth Partnerships created a blog post specifically addressing the mentality of "It's been a rough day, I need a drink.” You can view the post here
  • Community Action for Safe Teens hosted a virtual HOPE Festival, an art contest that challenged kids in their community to show how they were finding hope during the COVID-19 pandemic and to express that through art. Once quarantine has ended, they plan to hold their festival at a local park and showcase all the wonderful art that came from the virtual launch this year.
  • Be the Change 406 Youth Coalition painted positive message rocks and hid them in areas where people enjoy the outdoors while following social distancing and safe handling practices. The rocks had positive messages to address the mental health stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. This provided youth with a project that was both creative and gave them a sense of helping boost resilience in others. Community members who found the rocks often posted them on Facebook, and it also encouraged outdoor enjoyment and physical activity.
  • Substance Abuse Free Indian River had one of their youth conduct a PSA on Vaping and COVID-19 with a local radio station. They also had each one of their youth members make a short video on what they were doing to "prevent" COVID-19 while at home. A youth member put all the videos together and the final video was posted to social media.

I hope you find these ideas and resources to be helpful. It’s my pleasure to join the CADCA team and to serve all of our members. I hope you’ll reach out to me at 703-706-0560 ext. 261 if I can be of assistance to you!

The CADCA Community is a members-only forum with daily discussions and sharing of over 400 resources. If you are not a member, join here.

Best wishes,
Lauren