As the coalition was in the initial phase of being formed, Quincy was experiencing increased youth problem behaviors related to alcohol, marijuana, and related gang involvement. Along with surging youth drug use, teen pregnancy, and academic failure, the community had been rocked to its core in 1999 with the violent death of a local teenager that was shot while walking home from baseball practice. He had tried to discourage another youth from joining one of the local gangs; his death resulted from another youth’s retaliatory act. In response to this tragedy, the community knew something had to change and it was going to take everyone to make a difference.
The Quincy Communities that Cares Coalition (QCTC) started as a community-based prevention entity in 2003 with the help of the University of Washington (UW) Social Development Research Group (SDRG). Through UW’s SDRG funding, recruitment of local leaders for the Communities That Care (CTC) prevention system model to build a cohesive, community-wide prevention initiative to meet long-term population outcomes due to strong initial concern for Quincy’s youth drug and alcohol use and its negative effects. Utilizing the Strategic Prevention Framework, by 2004, QCTC developed their action plan to reduce substance use in Quincy and to discuss the prioritized local risk factors. Several alcohol/drug-free related events were held each year to offer alternative options to the local youth and share the anti-drug messaging, but with a large focus to help all of our students graduate from high school.
A challenge the coalition faced was that prevention efforts were inconsistent as capacity was limited to the ebb and flow of funding streams and volunteer sustained-efforts. Within a few years, it became clear that stand-alone interventions were not achieving the desired population-level change with prevention programming. In 2007, the coalition became federally funded under the Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant.
- Establish and strengthen collaboration among communities to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth.
- Reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.
During this funding transition, there was another partnership known as the “Quincy Partnership for Youth,” that included the High Tech High – Community Service Learning; Social Worker from Community Health Center; Coordinator of the Communities That Care Grant; WSU Grant-Adams Extension Director; Volunteer / Life Skills Instructor; Three High School students; a Fund Developer; and a retired School Counselor.
This group focused on:
- Building youth participation throughout community
- Promoting a positive view of youth (youth are “assets to and in community” not problems) to be fixed’ ~ they are community problem solvers builders.
- Becoming a place for the “voice” of Quincy Valley youth
- Coalescing adults, youth, businesses and individuals together to nurture and promote positive goals and values in the Quincy area.
- Advocating for youth to reach their potential through positive opportunities, meaningful interactions with caring adults and peer support from other youth.
- Funding training opportunities for parents, youth, and the community.
- Previous work included offer mini-grants for senior projects (not active).
In 2008, QPFY sponsored four monthly Community Youth Development forums. Along with community leaders, principals and students from Monument through High School were in attendance.
We did some outstanding goal-setting, short and long-term – TOGETHER – youth and adults.
At the end of the forums, leaders missed the opportunity for ‘youth voice’s.’ This is when Youth Action was formed which focused about youth community service in partnership with community groups. In 2010, YA was adopted into Rotary which changed their name to Youth Action Interact.
In 2018, all the Quincy Communities that Care coalition merged with the Quincy Partnership for Youth due to the unified goal of youth development and empowerment.