The Iowa Department of Public Health recently announced a grant extension for Chickasaw County. This means there will be more time to continue with the process which began in June of 2011. Great news! The coalition looks to the future with the great hope of a healthier and safer Chickasaw County.
People have said, "You are making no progress, kids are still drinking like crazy." Agreed. Kids are still drinking. Disagree with the lack of progress. First of all, it is important to understand that the process is measured with multiple indicators. For example-how many alcohol polices were developed and approved by an event committee? How many ID scanners were used? How many sales to intoxicated patrons were refused? How many retailers passed compliance checks? How many people viewed a counter marketing advertisement? There is slow, steady upward movement all graphed out and cool looking with help from the University of Kansas. It may take several years for the results of the Iowa Youth Survey to change. A generation, perhaps.
What could be done is to increase communication around the indicators to create a perception that progress is being made. People like to know that the funding is well spent. Agreed.
There are other significant indicators which cannot be measured. They include the number and quality of conversations between people. For example-clergy discussing with parishioners, teachers and coaches talking to students, parents who are talking to their kids, and retailers checking ID's. Conversations around the importance of healthy and informed choices when it comes to alcohol-these are impossible to measure but contribute to change.
If you are interested in helping out, this would be a great time to get involved! All are invited to coalition meetings on the third Thursday of every month. The next meeting is Thursday, May 15th at 7 pm at the County Services Building. Please call for more information at 641-394-3003.
In good health, Betsy