In the early 2000's Camanche had a coalition, the Caring Community Coalition of Camanche (4C), and DeWitt had a coalition, the Community Alliance Against Substance Abuse (CAASA) which they were both made up of a variety of community members that researched trends and solutions to reduce marijuana use, underage drinking, and medication abuse in their community. Because of similar missions, programs, youth abuse problems, lack of structural leadership, lack of operational funds, and funding cuts, the coalitions in Camanche and DeWitt merged in late summer of 2013 to combine resources and create one stronger, vibrant coalition, the Camanche DeWitt Coalition (CDC). The Camanche-DeWitt Coalition received their first five years of DFC Grant funding in 2015.
The coalition continues to see membership increase from year to year. One sector that has grown significantly is the youth. The coalition maintains a great working relationship with their area schools which allow coalition members to come in and speak directly to youth, whether it's for education, focus groups, or simply to recruit. Because of the partnership between the Camanche-DeWitt Coalition and AC4C, the coalition has been able to participate in the Day on the Hill event the past two years. The first year that the coalition brought students to Day on the Hill, the youth were not only able to meet with their local legislatures but also the Governor.
One of the 7th grade students came back from that trip wanting to make a difference and approached her teacher and fellow classmates on increasing the legal age to purchase tobacco to 21. The students learned all about the Strategic Prevention Framework from the coalition coordinator and the difference between lobbying and educating. The students worked diligently for a year working on this bill with their local Senator, sending out educational information to all of Iowa's Senate and House Representatives. The students were asked to be guests at a local fundraiser where they again got to meet with the Governor and educate them on tobacco/nicotine and the harms associated with vaping. The student's work paid off and they were invited to the Iowa Capitol to watch Governor Reynolds sign the Tobacco 21 bill into law.
Another accomplishment the Camanche-DeWitt Coalition has had in the implementation of their Hidden In Plain Sight Trailer (HIPS). Hidden in Plain Sight is an educational experience that walks you through a typical teenage bedroom. The inside of the bedroom is set up with drug paraphernalia "Hidden in Plain Sight." It is an interactive display/program that offers adults insights into current trends in youth substance abuse, drug paraphernalia, concealment of illicit drugs & alcohol.
The goal of the HIPS trailer is to educate community members about drug trends, paraphernalia, how to talk to youth about alcohol & drugs, and what to do if a problem is suspected. The coalition started HIPS in 2017 and has had over 2,500 people go through it. With COVID-19 hitting in 2020, the coalition hasn't been able to use the trailer but has started offering HIPS presentations online.
The Camanche-DeWitt Coalition finished up year 5 of the DFC grant in 2020 and was recently awarded the DFC grant for an additional 5 years. They look forward to continuing their work and making a positive impact in their communities when it comes to substance abuse.