Florida Community Groups: People Helping People
If you’re looking for a short list of long-lauded Florida Community Groups, you can’t do any better than short-cutting through the long line provided by the Partnership to End Addiction. After all, partnering with people is what they do. And since community groups are built upon the strengths found in the communities they serve, it makes sense that the Partnership would only team with the best.
It also makes sense that the Partnership would hold community group connections with every state in the nation. In fact, most times they hold a rather healthy handful of connections. Of course it would be absolutely futile for us to attempt to cover all the connected organizations in a single sitting, so we’ll stick to Florida community groups for now.
But first a quick word re: our de facto sponsors.
Partnership to End Addiction
We stumbled upon the Partnership’s robust list of Community Partners while seeking a Florida counterpart to California’s Let’s Make a Difference. It wasn’t our first time stumbling head first into the organization. Not even close. We heralded their teaming with The Lumineers for the Start with Connection campaign. We also covered the insightful, Heart of the Matter podcast chats investigative anchor Elizabeth Vargas has had with the likes of 3rd Rock alum Kristen Johnston and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean and her son Harry Cunnane. Each time we get with the Partnership proves to be as insightfully rewarding as the last, so we’ll always jump at another opportunity to sing the group’s praises.
Again though, in a state-by-state partners case, we’d be singing for years. Not that we don’t want to sing for years, mind you. It’s just that each state really deserves its own song.
Florida Community Groups
Baker County, Florida may be situated west of Jacksonville’s bustling, hustling Duval County. It may also be celebrated for being home to significant parts of both the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge and Osceola National Forest. But neither of those facts means that the county is free of its neighbor’s big city problems, especially vis-a-vis substance abuse. The Baker Prevention Coalition is determined to eradicate all that. To do so it’s aligned nearly every stakeholder in the county, including the Baker County Sheriff’s Department, the Baker County School District, and the Baker County Clerk of the Courts. If it takes a coalition…, then the BPC is on the right track indeed.
Like its Baker County counterpart, this nonprofit community group is firmly focused on youth and families. Unlike the above-cited however, this BPC has over 25 times the population to contend with. That’s right, Brevard County lies in what’s called the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area, which stretches along Florida’s bustling Space Coast and boasts over 600,000 residents. But that hasn’t stopped the organization from “uniting local organizations, businesses, agencies and individuals for the achievement of a common goal.” We “exist to build a healthy, safe and substance abuse-free community in Brevard County,” says the Coalition’s website. And through addiction initiatives such as the DEA Drug Take Back Day they do just that — for everyone.
Flagler County’s OARS lies about equidistant between the two above-mentioned BPCs in the fast-growing city of Palm Coast, whose population has more than doubled over the last 10 years. As you might suspect, that people boom has created a growing need for recovery services. And that’s just where OARS comes in. Its addiction initiatives include Education, Support, Peer Support and Sustainability, as well as various community-wide events such as September’s National Recovery Month celebration in Flagler Beach’s Veterans Park. In other words, it serves as a well-rounded friend when a well-rounded friend is needed.
Volusia County is situated just north of Flagler and south of Brevard, which seems to place it between Florida’s First and Space Coasts. Whatever the case, its population is booming, up by 11+% over the last decade. No need to fret though, because one gets the impression One Voice for Volusia easily has numbers enough to meet the numbers. At least that’s what their site looks like anyway. Talk about a coalition! The One Voice main page shows a team that spans four deep, 24 across and easily a hundred strong. (One can only imagine what their monthly meetings look like!) Then again, if you’re aim is to “connect non-profit, governmental, and community-based organizations along with local businesses to promote system and community improvements for the benefit of all in Volusia County,” you need a teaming team. One Voice for Volusia has that — and then some.
SDOVCC covers the community that runs from West Perrine to Naranja, as well as the various surrounding areas. Its target population is youth, of all grade levels. And its main fight is substance abuse, of every kind. To do that the coalition implements a variety of addiction initiatives, including the Miami Foundation-funded SPORT Prevention Plus Wellness Program, which was awarded a prestigious SAMHSA CARA grant. The group is also renowned as the Elijah Network Family and Community Alliance, which is behind award-winning efforts such as the “Elijah Project” (1998) and the “New Heights Project” (2004). The Coalition’s mission is to “Turn the Hearts of Families.” And they meet their mission with grace and aplomb.
W.O.R.N. says it wants to “Make Recovery the New Epidemic” and we’re with them 1000%! Backed by its own clothing line (hence the name?), as well as various events and fundraising efforts, this Boynton Beach-based outfit “provides resources to detox centers, treatment facilities, and sober living anywhere in the United States.” They also have a Ticket to Recovery Program which helps pay for transportation for those who’ve already been scholarshipped and cannot afford treatment fare. All in all, a solid and viable recovery organization.
YPV is named after, dedicated to and created in behalf of Yaritza “Yaya” Rollan, a tattoo artist, painter, ceramics sculptor, illustrator, muralist and cosmetologist who was extremely active n Miami’s thriving art scene. Her sister started YPV in order to use art to connect the community in the areas of overdose prevention, awareness, substance abuse, recovery, and harm reduction. And connect they do… YPV partners with everyone from Floridians for Recovery to Pridelines to the North Miami Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). They’re also sponsored by the likes of Love Hope, Lincoln’s Beard Brewing Co. and Amazon Smile. This vivid and vibrant undertaking is a fitting testimonial to a vivid and vibrant life.
As you see, addiction initiatives come in all shapes and sizes. So do the coalitions that enact the addiction initiatives. Then again, why wouldn’t they? Addiction may be a singular problem, but there’s not one kind of addict. There’s not one kind of addiction fix either. And the more ways we have to beat the disease, the better our chances at winning.
Healing Properties has been teaming with various community groups since 2002. And we’ll continue to do so; just as long as there’s a need. Because these community coalitions not only provide great service, they’re a tremendous inspiration for everyone. They also happen to be our first best chance. After all, few things are as formidable as the voice of the people.
If you or a loved one needs help, please pick up the phone. Call us here. Call one of the above. Or call someone else. Just so long as you make the call. It could very well save your life.