The Mille Lacs Area Partners for Prevention (MAPP) Coalition is engaging in efforts to prevent underage alcohol, tobacco and other drug use in Onamia, Isle and Nay Ah Shing communities. It takes a dedicated and ever-growing team of people throughout Onamia, Isle, and Nay Ah Shing working together to realize MAPP’s mission. This month’s MAPP Spotlight features coalition member, Geri Pohlkamp. Geri is the Director of the local 21st Century Community Learning Centers grant that provides out of school time programs for students in Onamia, Isle and Nay Ah Shing schools and communities.
Why do you feel passionate about the youth in our community?
Geri: All youth, no matter where they live, have so much potential if they are given a chance to succeed. That “chance” can be in the form of community support, educational support and parental/family support. The youth in our community have support, but aren’t always aware of how much there is.
In your opinion, what are you most proud of that the coalition has done or is working on?
Geri: The youth from all three communities are getting involved in a variety of activities. The youth groups are strong and active. In addition, the training and workshops that are available for coalition members and community members have been invaluable. Our eyes have been opened to the possibilities for our communities. We have great communities where people are genuinely concerned about our youth and families.
What impact do you believe the coalition has made on the Community?
Geri: The slow, methodical process of introducing the coalition and its mission to the community is very well thought out and deliberate. The coalition does not overwhelm with data and forced programs, but rather, presents ideas and information in a way that make people think and feel good about our communities. The whole process is positive based which makes it easier to digest and to connect with people. The youth have enough negative forces thrown at them each day. The positive atmosphere of the coalition draws them in and makes them want to be part of something good.