Coalition mobilizing with new strategic plan

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Shelly Birkelo
Tuesday, February 11, 2014

JANESVILLE—Leaders of Janesville Mobilizing 4 Change said they never want the group focused only on underage drinking and drug use.

Realizing the community is affected by other issues, coalition leaders and members in January gathered to re-examine the 2-year-old organization's vision of changing social norms to create a healthier safer community.

“We saw it as an opportunity to see what we're currently doing and whether we need to expand our focus beyond drug use through partnerships with other organizations,” said Sarah Johnson, program coordinator.

Issues from gang violence to poverty to domestic violence were discussed, but Johnson said one topic was obvious: The lack of a community hub to share information and resources.

JM4C hopes it can fill that gap and improve awareness of existing community resources, she said.

“We're looking at creating some stronger collaborations to address some gaps in Janesville that have resulted from limited budgets and reduced funding,” Johnson said.

“Communicating with each other will result in our being more effective with our time and money,” she said.

During a March coalition meeting, issues will be prioritized and goals set based on the January meeting, she said.

Anyone interested in helping Janesville become a healthier, safer community is invited to work with coalition representatives from law enforcement agencies, youth organizations, 4-H, juvenile diversion and probation, Big Brothers Big Sisters, School District of Janesville, Hedberg Public Library and Ruby Project.

“It takes a collaboration of different pockets of our community working together to identify these goals that will help us expand and broaden our focus,” Johnson said.

“We never wanted to be a group solely focused on underage drinking and drug use. So we're expanding our horizon,” Johnson said. “We're looking at how we can achieve our mission of a healthier, safer community beyond drug use.”

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