By Diana Hendricks, CDFC executive director
In an award ceremony held at Beech Grove City Hall, Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug-Free Coalition (CDFC) was recognized as a CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalition) Blue Ribbon Coalition for their Positive Youth Development Outreach – Underage Drinking Initiation.
The city of Beech Grove designed and installed the Franciscan Trail along the creek that winds through neighborhoods and public parks as a combined built and natural environment to promote a healthier community and decrease any undesired activities or behaviors like underage drinking along the natural creek woodlands.
Diana Hendricks, CDFC executive director, commented during the award ceremony that since vehicles are not permitted on the trail, the coalition’s community partners came together to develop a plan for trail patrol. Franciscan Health provides a Social Impact Partnership Program (SIPP) to assist the communities they serve to forge meaningful relationships with those who are dedicated to improving health issues through physical activity and nutrition (including food insecurity), mental wellness initiatives, healthy relationships (including pregnancy, parenting and recovery), and housing support.
CDFC applied to the SIPP and was awarded funding to provide the Beech Grove Police Department (BGPD) with two patrol e-bikes for patrolling Franciscan Trail as well as connecting parks and neighborhoods. CDFC recognized the city of Beech Grove, and coalition community partners Franciscan Health and Beech Grove Police Department for their dedication to the wellbeing of our community and key roles in CDFC being recognized as a Blue Ribbon Coalition.
Mayor Dennis Buckley stated, “I’m pleased that our coalition was recognized at such a high international level. Much work has been done by Diana, her staff and coalition partners to combat underage drinking and the destruction that opioids have caused. I also appreciate our Faith Based Coalition for supporting this very important project. The city of Beech Grove is very grateful that this resource is available to the residents of this city.”
CADCA demonstrates that when all sectors of a community come together, social change happens through a community-based, advocacy-focused, data-driven, coalition-building association. General Price commented, “I am honored to travel to the Hoosier state to recognize one of CADCA’s premier coalitions, Beech Grove CDFC. Beech Grove has truly assembled a model coalition with all required sectors. When a sitting mayor, sitting police chief, and a visible pastor team works with visionary coalition lead, the community witnesses population-level change and tremendous success. It was my singular honor, to return home to Indiana to reward Beech Groove for their demonstrated excellence.”
Hope McMickle, evaluation specialist and research associate at IU Prevention Insights commented, “Prevention Insights at the IU School of Public Health is pleased and proud to have been a part of technical support for drug free community support grant environmental change efforts and celebrates Beech Grove Comprehensive Drug Free Coalition for receiving this illustrious honor and international recognition from CADCA as a Blue Ribbon recipient. This award is a testament to the Beech Grove coalition’s commitment, dedication and hard work, community mobilization effectiveness, key leader engagement across sectors, vast coalition capacity and excellence of their prevention efforts.”
CDFC Chair, Kimberly Sharp stated, “We cannot arrest our way out of this mental health and substance use disorders crisis.”
Diana Hendricks commented that support for environmental and policy changes often takes legislative support at the state level. Working with legislators to advocate for youth mental health and substance use prevention efforts is important to sustain prevention and treatment programs in our local communities. Representative Mitch Gore attended the CDFC award ceremony and spoke about the importance of youth mental health and substance use prevention and how it is a pleasure to support Beech Grove CDFC and their efforts to ensure our youth have a healthy and safe future. Representative Gore asked, “Is anyone here surprised that we are one of the few communities that have ever received this award?” He responded, “I am not.” Representative Gore talked about current legislation being considered that he supports to increase funding for mental health treatment.
Diana Hendricks concluded that “it takes a community to keep a community healthy for the future of our youth,” which is the driving force behind their mission.
To learn more about CDFC, become involved as a coalition partner, volunteer, or donate to their mission visit beechgrovecdfc.org