Mt. Vernon Register-News

January 17, 2013

Mission Possible Coalition seeks members

By RORYE O’CONNOR
rorye.oconnor@register-news.com

MT. VERNON — — The Mission Possible Coalition is seeking people willing to commit to encouraging a drug-free community.

Although it has strong participation in its volunteers and working group meeting attendance, overall meeting attendance has dwindled, said director Robin Dodd.

“We don’t have a set number of people we’re looking for,” she said. “We’re just looking for people who are interested in working on improving our community. A small group of committed people can accomplish a great deal.”

The coalition completed its 10-year Drug Free Communities grant in Sept. 2011, Dodd said.

“At that point, our funding was strictly the Partnership for Success Grant, which tackles underage drinking,” she said. “We had also served as the Jefferson County Juvenile Justice Council for five years. ... Knowing many of our members have been active for upwards of 13 to 14 years, we decided to do a membership participation initiative and see if people are interested in sitting on the coalition.”

Those who are interested will make a commitment to sit on monthly lunch meetings and help with monthly initiatives. Working groups include a media/marketing group, law enforcement and community initiatives group, Dodd said, which each collaborate to develop and plan the initiatives of the Mission Possible Coalition. There are also Red Ribbon Week and Festival working groups.

“It would be a contribution to the community, to work to improve the lives of youth, reduce underage drinking and make our community a healthier, safe environment for youth and families,” Dodd said.

She said the Mission Possible Coalition’s campaigns have made a positive effect on the community through the years.

“We are working to reduce underage drinking at tenth and 12th grade, but we are also addressing sixth and eighth, because we know that’s the onset for experimentation,” she said. “We are working on parents talking to kids about not using alcohol or other drugs, and we’re working on our social norms campaign.”

The coalition works with local high school Students Against Destructive Decisions or prevention teams to target the school or area’s specific issues, Dodd added.

In addition to the coalition’s campaigns, it also partners with local law enforcement to provide four sobriety checkpoints per year, as well as compliance checks at local establishments. Celeste Robinson, grant coordinator, is trained in Beverage Alcohol Sellers and Server Education and Training, and provides that training to local bartenders two times a year.

The next meeting of the Mission Possible Coalition will be held at 11:30 a.m. Jan. 23 at 9th Street Grill. Those interested may call 204-5075.