Coalitions in Action: Evidence2Success Kearns Coalition Finds Success in Prevention

In western Salt Lake County, Utah, the Evidence2Success Kearns Coalition followed Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Evidence2Success process, which uses the Communities That Care framework, to select and implement tested, effective programs. The coalition was awarded two state grants and a Drug Free Communities (DFC) grant that allowed them to implement environmental strategies.

“One of the things we as a coalition are most proud of is how we’ve been able to follow a strategic planning process to identify and implement both tested, effective programs and environmental strategies,” said Caroline Moreno, Education Program Manager at Evidence2Success Kearns Community Coalition.

In 2015, the coalition started working with the Annie E. Casey Foundation on Evidence2Success. The foundation supported the establishment of the coalition and start the five-phase process of community collaboration, data assessment, resources assessment, and program selection. Due to the impact of their work, the coalition began to receive additional funding for environmental strategies.

“We haven’t been around long enough to see community-level outcomes in our youth surveys,” said Moreno, as implementation began in 2017. “Progress outcomes include a vibrant and growing community board; several reports and plan, including our Community Action Plan; engagement with the residents, schools, police department, and the Metro Township Council among other partners; several successful grants; and spreading of the work across Salt Lake County.”

Kearns is an unincorporated area in western Salt Lake County. A rapidly growing residential area, population changes have drastically affected Kearns demographics – by 2015, Kearns became the most diverse township in Salt Lake County and one of the most diverse communities in the Wasatch Front region. The area is home to almost 37,000 residents.

In addition, the coalition worked with Parent’s Empowered, an underage drinking prevention campaign. The Parents Empowered campaigns were held at Harmons supermarket and the Kearns Library, focused on family dinner time and “teens brains need books, not booze.” Salt Lake County Mayor McAdams, Kearns Metro Township Council Chair Steve Perry, and students from Kearns High School gathered for a press conference for Parents Empowered in April 2017.

Now, the coalition is kicking off their DFC work with a focus on vaping ordinances, alcohol compliance checks, and positive opportunities for youth.

“We still have a long way to go as we’re just entering into implementation and evaluation phase, but we feel our greatest impact will come from the integration of programs, environmental strategies, and community collaboration,” said Moreno. “Since many frameworks only offer one or the other, it means combining frameworks. We have found, however, that the underlying similarities between different frameworks allow for that integration!”