The Mille Lacs Area Partners for Prevention (MAPP) Coalition was recently formed in an effort to prevent underage alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in Onamia, Isle and Nay Ah Shing communities. The coalition operates under Rum River Health Services in Princeton and is funded through a state grant that incorporates several grant strategies into our communities including: leadership, youth groups, in-school curriculum, beverage server training, community activities and a Positive Community Norms communication campaign. It takes a dedicated and ever-growing team of people throughout Onamia, Isle, and Nay Ah Shing working together to realize this mission. This month’s MAPP Spotlight features the Coalition’s Planning and Implementation Assistant, Amber Kent.
Question: Why do you feel strongly that the youth in our communities should be alcohol, tobacco and drug free?
Amber: The implications that arise from youth using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs do not only have an effect on the youth themselves (delayed brain development, high risk behavior, dependence etc.), but also on the community and society as a whole. This literally affects everyone. We know too well that the consequences of underage drinking can be fatal. We have already seen too many tragedies in our very small communities. That motivates me to support the youth in our community and advocate for the importance of preventing underage alcohol, tobacco and other drug use.
The youth truly are the future. They hold so much power in their hands. They’re our future leaders. I feel it is our job as adults and community members to help guide them to make healthy, safe choices.
A few months ago, at a town hall forum, a woman said, “It is time we go back to the old way of thinking; it takes a village to raise a child.” This is so true! We all play a small part in the success of our youth!
Question: What have you heard about the prevalence of underage alcohol, tobacco and drug use in our communities?
Amber: It is exciting for me to say that, through much research, we have learned that most youth are choosing NOT to drink, use tobacco or other drugs. This is great news and gives us the opportunity to show our youth and the community that not all kids are choosing to drink, and that the majority of kids do not want to. Nonetheless, a small percentage of youth are choosing to drink. Our coalition is encouraging discussion about this through the “Our Voice, Our Choice” campaign. We hope to prevent youth from drinking by switching the perception from “everyone is doing it” to the reality that “NOT everyone is doing it”.
Question: Do you feel the Coalition and its strategies will, in fact, accomplish its vision of a community that works to develop and maintain partnerships by engaging and empowering everyone to make healthy and safe choices? Why?
Amber: I absolutely feel that we can accomplish our vision. I believe this without a doubt in my mind. I see the dedication, passion, and persistence of each of the coalition members. They continue to attend meetings every month and work together toward the same vision and goal.
The work of the coalition requires a number of tasks and the members continuously deliver numerous volunteer hours to ensure success. The coalition has been established for just over a year, and its force continues to get stronger and stronger.
The Mille Lacs Area Partners for Prevention Coalition is funded through a grant from the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Division. If you would like to find out more about the Coalition or perhaps become a member, please contact the coordinator Shannon Frazier by calling at, 1-320-515-1567, or visit the website at www.mappcoalition.com.