CADCA Publisher January 4, 2024

Announcing the 2023 Chairman’s Award Winner: Community Alliance of Resources for Everyone

The Community Alliance of Resources for Everyone (CARE Coalition) has been titled this year’s Major General Arthur T. Dean’s Chairman’s Award Winner. This accolade recognizes outstanding graduates of the National Coalition Academy (NCA), a comprehensive training program developed by the National Coalition Institute, which teaches coalition leaders how to establish and maintain a highly effective anti-drug coalition. By demonstrating outstanding knowledge, understanding, and application of the information taught at the NCA in their strategies and efforts, the CARE Coalition was selected by CADCA’s President and CEO, General Barrye L. Price, to receive this honor.

Charlene Shreder, the Director of Community-Based Prevention Programs at the University of Oklahoma Southwest Prevention Center (CARE Coalition’s fiscal agent and lead agency), shared insights into the CARE Coalition’s NCA experience, “The NCA gave our staff the opportunity to take what we wrote in our grant and what we’ve talked about in our meetings, and really move it from that educational aspect to true practice. Now they know what to do and they know what it means when we talk about the Strategic Prevention Framework. The NCA was truly essential in providing foundational learning we wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.”

Shreder attended the training alongside the CARE Coalition’s dedicated staff, including Drug Free Communities Program Coordinator Kelsey Harlan and Coalition Chair Patti Johnson, who embraced the lessons-learned throughout the training and eagerly began to apply them to their coalition work. CARE Coalition has strategically incorporated NCA learnings into its initiatives, focusing on updating processes, aligning strategic plans, and identifying new data sources. Shreder also highlighted the coalition’s commitment to cultural competency, recognizing their area’s diverse population, including tribal partners and a growing Hispanic community.

Winning the Chairman’s Award has provided the coalition with inspiration and validation for their hard work. Shreder noted that the award boosts morale, encourages continued dedication, and brings well-deserved recognition to a small-town community in Oklahoma.

As the CARE Coalition plans to share the award’s success with its members, Shreder emphasized the importance of sustaining efforts beyond the initial accolade. The coalition continues to focus on incorporating what they have learned about effective substance misuse prevention, specifically targeting tobacco, underage drinking, marijuana, and opioid use.

Shreder’s advice for those considering attending the NCA is, “I would tell them to absolutely do it! I think every coalition, regardless of whether it’s a Drug Free Communities coalition or not, needs to go through NCA training, because it really takes a deep dive into how to do the work effectively.”

“I highly recommend that if you get the opportunity to attend, to be like a sponge and soak up everything that’s in the training – whether it’s insights from the trainers, or even from the other coalitions in attendance. Be prepared to immerse yourself 100% in the training, so you can take it back to your communities and use what you learned to create sustained change.”

CADCA congratulates the CARE Coalition for their exceptional efforts and looks forward to witnessing the continued positive impact of their community-based prevention initiatives.

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