Monday, July 9, 2012

So, what do we need?

Five years ago, things in Chelsea were very different. Back in 2007, teens here were using alcohol and marijuana at a higher rate than their peers across Michigan, and that number was moving in the wrong direction - up. We got organized, we got funding from the Coghlan Family Foundation, and we started SRSLY.

Back in 2008, SRSLY conducted a needs assessment to measure our community's youth substance abuse problem, and identify risk and protective factors. This process was the foundation for our strategic plan, and each of our four yearly action plans since then. The needs assessment was the basis for everything we do in SRSLY, from Project Sticker Shock, to SRSLY Cinema.

Here we are today, four years later, with a lot to be proud of. More than 600 volunteers have donated almost 9,000 hours to SRSLY activities. Monthly coalition meetings and events put youth in the driver's seat, with adults playing an important supporting role. Strong brand recognition means people think SRSLY when they see lime green.

So that's what we've got, but what do we need? A lot has changed since we started four years ago, and that's why SRSLY just did another needs assessment. Led by the Assessment Team (or "A-Team" as they called themselves), SRSLY leaders looked at survey data, held focus groups with teens and parents, and interviewed key informants at the schools and in the community. We put all this information together and answered the question, "What are the youth substance abuse problems and needs in Chelsea?"

The answer will be summarized in a full report, which will be posted on Next up, the Planning Team will get started on a new and improved SRSLY Strategic Plan, based on the Assessment Team findings. Watch for the new plan this fall.

Questions or comments? Email, or call (734) 593-5279.

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