Thursday, March 22, 2012

A little history...

Previously we had promised to provide more information about the history of Five Town CTC between our start in 2003 and present day. We will pick up the story in this week's installment:

During the remainder of 2003 and the first quarter of 2004, Five Town CTC continued with a series of 7 formal training sessions in the CTC system. Five Town CTC members analyzed data, surveyed other community members, and explored potential prevention programs that had been shown to be effective at addressing what the data told us were our underlying causes of youth issues here.  In the spring of 2004, we launched our first programs. Math Mentors was aimed at reducing low commitment to school, and STAR was aimed at improving community recognition of the positive contributions our local youth make.  The additions of these programs meant hiring staff, and the size of the organization grew.

After several years of growth under the YMCA, Five Town CTC's volume of operations began putting a strain on the administrative systems, and (with the YMCA's blessing) we transitioned over to the Five Town CSD's umbrella in 2006.  Our continued growth led us to incorporate as a 501(c) 3 organization in 2007 and to step out as an independent agency in 2009.

As time went on, more programs were added to the community's suite of effective prevention strategies.  Five Town CTC provided support for implementation, training, and evaluation for such programs as Life Skills Training and the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program delivered by local school staff.  The Five Town CTC Coalition's skills and capacity to help other organizations continued to grow, and a fledgling consulting arm was born.  Consulting was provided free of charge here in the Five Towns and for a fee elsewhere.

The research into whether CTC was effective drew considerable attention when the first results (for students in the study group when they were in grade 8) were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine in September 2009.  Five Town CTC was asked to help provide a local, community perspective for media and other researchers who were curious about Communities That Care, and through this opportunity Five Town CTC was thrust into the national spotlight.  ABC news ran a piece on the efforts here and federal officials hosted a "National Town Hall meeting."  In October of 2011, a second article highlighting newly analyzed results from data on the youth participants when they were in grade 10 was also published in JAMA's Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.  In between the these two publications a paper was published in Prevention Science on an independent study by Penn State researchers which found similar results from Pennsylvania groups using CTC.  A national "buzz" about CTC can now be heard and requests for consulting services related to CTC have increased.

Funding for local efforts still comes from a combination of grants, foundation support, and local donations.  The Drug Free Communities Support Program provides $125K per year to support the coalition and environmental strategies, but cannot be used to pay for direct-service programming.  This particular grant was awarded in 2008 and was for five years.  Our first round of funding will end in September of 2013; we will be eligible to compete for one additional round of funding from this source.  We had funding to support implementation of our STAR program from Maine's Juvenile Justice Advisory Group for four years, but ended in 2011.  We continue to seek grants to replace this $75K per year funding stream so that STAR can be offered again in the fall of 2012.  We are also looking to increase contributions from Five Town community members who understand the importance of supporting this work. 

Our offices have moved about the community over our eight year history—from the Penobscot Bay YMCA to a room on Washington Street, to a space-sharing arrangement with Midcoast Martial Arts, and finally to our current home at 219 Meadow Street in Rockport.  We encourage you to drop by for a visit, especially if you have any questions about where we came from or where we think we are going!  Give us a call, or take a chance and stop on by.  We would love to hear from you.

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