Alliance for Healthy Communities
Alliance Vision: To create a community empowered to make positive choices through knowledge, skills and resources.
Alliance Mission: Engage the community to reduce youth substance abuse and risks of suicide by raising awareness and changing community norms.
In it's May 7, 2013 meeting, members of the growing Parkway coalition decided to adopt the name Alliance for Healthy Communities. The reasons for this change reflect the regional scope of inclusion essential to the coalition's operations and the coalition's mission to effect community change.
A NEW COALITION BRINGS RESOURCES AND COLLABORATION TO COMMUNITY PROBLEM SOLVING
In November 2012, the Parkway School District was awarded a 5-year, $500,000 grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health. The specific focus of this grant project is 2-fold: (a) the creation of a regional coalition to facilitate collaborative problem solving among community stakeholders for the purpose of (b) reducing the incidence of underage drinking, marijuana use and suicide risk among area youth.
The Parkway region is rich in resources: excellent schools, both public and non-public, science-based curricula, state-of-the-art health care services, internationally accredited law enforcement agencies, median incomes well above state averages, competent and compassionate leaders and so much more enrich our communities. Yet, assessments with our youth indicate alarming trends in substance abuse and emotional despair that have been at issue for decades. Further, local data (see prevention data in side bar) indicate that the causes of these trends lie in community conditions that enable risky behavior and degraded health. Specifically, easy access to alcohol and other drugs combined with inaccurate social norms, negatively influence many youth and parents. More deeply, as many as two-thirds of the region's high school age youth report lacking meaningful life purpose and engagement within their neighborhoods, schools and communities. Research across many disciplines repeatedly demonstrates that meaningful life purpose and connections are vital components of health for people of all ages.
The Alliance for Healthy Communities (AHC) exists to take health prevention efforts to a new level. AHC is to be the center point for building collaborative partnerships through which innovative programs can be delivered that will (a) change community conditions that enable poor health and (b) engage more of our youth in meaningful roles within their schools and communities.