Editor's Note: Asya Shine is one of our region's public innovators and is the coalition coordinator for the Drug Free DeSoto Coalition.
Drug Free DeSoto Coalition has been working with Aspirations to Actions Guide Bill Little for the last fiscal year to help with the reorganization of the Coalition’s structure and purpose within the community.
Although the organization has been around for years, there was not a footprint or vision set forth by those who were involved. Through our work with Bill, we've been able to establish a mission, vision, and a set of core values to help us reach the community at large while thinking about their hopes and aspirations for the future.
At this moment, I consider a majority of the members of Drug Free DeSoto Coalition to be in what The Harwood Institute's model calls the Catalytic Stage; however, at the same time, many of them are not yet involved at a necessary level to move forward. We are currently evaluating different individuals and organizations to determine strengths and advantages of working together. Although we want as many people to the table as possible, it is crucial that we have the right individuals and organizations, so that we can move ahead in accord.
Throughout the year, the Coalition has had a few Community Conversations, but it is still hard to get the community involved. We continue to decipher the best way to engage community residents of DeSoto County. Our challenge throughout this entire process has been trying to reach more people. Nevertheless, we have partnered with the local Drug Free Youth program to increase name awareness and marketing of the Coalition, and it has been one of the best partnerships so far, so we’re moving in the right direction.
We are thankful for Aspirations to Actions, as well as the help we have received from Bill Little. Drug Free DeSoto Coalition definitely has a long way to go within The Harwood Institute's process, but we are committed to “one day at a time” to become a better organization.
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