Tell me about your community and the communities that your coalition serves-its population and unique features. When was the coalition formed?
The Koochiching Area Prevention in Education (KAPE) Coalition was created under the Partnership for Success grant awarded by the Minnesota Department of Human Services in 2015.
“One of the unique features of International Falls is that we are a very outdoorsy community,” said the coalition’s Planning and Implementation Grant Coordinator Beth Slatinski. “A lot of events surround different hunting seasons. One strategy that we developed was getting preventative information to youth that were taking gun safety, ATV, trapping safety, or snowmobiling safety. We’re also known as the ‘Icebox of the Nation.’”
What unique issues is your coalition facing?
“In 2016 our community was awarded an alcohol prevention grant to serve 6th through 12th grade students,” said Slatinski. “Prevention and coalition work were very new in our community. A lot of work had to be done to introduce the concept of prevention and get the correct information out about why the coalition was created. We needed the community to know that while we were concerned about the youth alcohol usage in our community, most of our youth were not using alcohol and we needed to celebrate and encourage that.”
What activity or program your coalition is most proud of and/or what activity would you like to spotlight?
“The coalition is very good at looking at our community and seeing the needs and wants and where we fit in,” said Slatinski. “We have been able to take a good assessment of our community and see where our efforts should go.”
How did you get there, and what are your outcomes/what advice would you give to other coalitions that may be addressing some of the same issues?
“We completed 50 one-on-one conversations with several sectors of our community,” said Slatinski. “During these conversations, we asked people what their thoughts were about underage alcohol use and what they thought the behaviors were of youth in our community. After the initial 50 conversations, we continued to do 25 on a yearly basis. This gave us a great insight to what our community thought and where we should put our efforts. We created a ‘Positive Community Norms’ campaign with data that students gave us through a Student Positive Community Norms survey, along with data from a Parent Positive Community Norms survey and a Community Positive Community Norms survey. From these three different surveys we were able to see data that we could use to develop specific strategies.”