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Prevention Science

Prevention science emphasizes a public health, community-based approach. Learn about the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) model, our coalition approach, and the strategies used in community prevention.

Coalition Approach

Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) Model

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Community change requires many partners volunteering their time and talent to make a difference! The Norwalk Partnership is a coalition of 12+ community sectors (see image) representing different perspectives. When we all come together, everyone contributes what they know: teens, parents, school personnel, and leaders of youth-serving groups all see different aspects of youth behavior; police identify violations and provide enforcement; business owners can help ensure that underage youth can’t access alcohol or vapes; healthcare professionals can identify youth who are struggling and need treatment; etc.

In addition to the 12 sectors, we need our coalition to reflect the diversity of cultures, languages, and needs in our community so that our strategies make sense. That's why we seek as many youth, parents, and people in recovery as possible from different social and cultural backgrounds. Join us at our monthly meetings to learn about current issues, provide your own insights into Norwalk's local conditions, and help plan and implement strategies that will work!  

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The SPF (sounds like "spiff") is a planning model promoted by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support coordinated, comprehensive, data-driven planning and accountability. It includes 5 steps: ​

1. We assess local needs. This includes conducting school & community surveys, focus groups, and key informant interviews. 

2. We build the capacity of our community to address the needs, by identifying people who need to be at the table and giving them information and training to participate in all our work. When you attend our meetings, we

will include brief trainings, share data, and provide slideshows to help you understand what we're talking about. Please ask questions & share your views!

3. We develop plans that are based on proven individual and environmental strategies. 

4. We implement programs and practices in accordance with our plans. 

5. We evaluate our work and revise our plans accordingly, which restarts the cycle.  

At all stages, we consider the long-term sustainability of our work and we look to involve people representing the full cultural diversity of our community so as to make our work culturally competent. These factors include making sure that our coalition members feel engaged and informed at every stage. Let us know any time you have questions or comments!  

Strategies for Community Change

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Research shows that prevention is most effective when it includes individual, community, and environmental strategies. Think of it this way: If a fish’s scales are covered in chemical slime, we have to clean its scales (an individual strategy), clean up the pond (a community strategy), and work with businesses to divert chemicals from entering the stream (an environmental strategy).

Therefore, our coalition work hopes to: amplify the individual strategies already taking place in town through schools, houses of worship, and community groups; identify and fill community gaps in areas such as awareness, support, and education; and work together to implement environmental changes in areas such as local ordinances, signage, policies, and enforcement.

Current Priorities

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Our current priorities are to address misuse of alcohol, marijuana, and vaping in youth and young adults, since these emerged as the top issues in Norwalk’s 2018 surveys and in our recent focus groups. To address these issues, we will be focusing on strategies such as youth wellness supports and alternatives, parent education, compliance checks, and more. Learn more about these on our Local Issues pages and find our current logic models and workplan on our Resources page.

We want your help in planning these strategies! Consider joining us as a coalition member.

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