By Robin GOLDSWORTHY
The Crescenta Valley Drug & Alcohol Prevention Coalition – CVDAPC – is in the process of “rebooting” the organization, which is approaching its third anniversary.
To help better define its goals and reconnect with its sector partners, CVDAPC hosted a morning brainstorming session in the community room at Verdugo Hills Hospital on Friday. Among the 58 attendees were those representing parents, youth, government, law enforcement, healthcare, education, business, youth-serving organizations, faith leaders and civic/volunteer groups.
The event was an opportunity for the diverse group to interact while exploring the contributions each can offer the CVDAPC in combating substance abuse in the Crescenta Valley.
The two-hour session, facilitated by Don St. Clair of Woodbury University, examined the commonalities found in the experiences of the various agencies while identifying gaps in the ways that information is exchanged.
Suzy Jacobs, executive director of the coalition, organized Friday’s event.
“I was thrilled,” she said of the session, adding that the caliber of people and agencies represented was a testament to the importance placed on ending substance abuse.
CVDAPC is a grassroots organization founded by parents who were tackling drug abuse by their children. With support from law enforcement, the Glendale Unified School District, other parents and civic leaders, the group evolved into a non-profit organization with a mission to “create awareness and maintain a safe and healthy drug-free community by providing our youth a secure, caring and supportive environment,” according to its website.
Jacobs said she wanted attendees to discover at Friday’s meeting how they could partner together to achieve common goals.
“We are all approaching ending substance abuse and there are ways we can support each other by thinking creatively and broader,” she said.
As an example, she recalled how she had met previously with the Glendale Council PTA regarding Red Ribbon Week activities. Glendale Council PTA Vice President Sandy Russell was at Friday’s meeting and started talking with Melinda Clarke, executive director of the Montrose-Verdugo City Chamber of Commerce, whose background included organizing red carpet events. Staff Sgt. Robert Randall overheard the two talking about creating a red carpet event for Red Ribbon Week and announced that Red Ribbon Week was his specialty and viola! A connection was made that may create a unique event targeting school-aged children.
The connection was right in line with what Jacobs said the coalition had hoped would happen on Friday.
“Partnering and broadening [will allow us] to be more impactful,” said Jacobs.
The coalition is planning to host a similar event in July when Jacobs will highlight some of the themes discussed on Friday.
“I wanted people to get together and think creatively and work together,” she said of Friday’s meeting. “What I learned is there are a lot of experts who want to help – and I am fortunate that they want to be a part of CVDAPC.”