According to BrainyQuote (2019), Secretary of Defense and four-star general Jim Mattis said, ‘In this age, I don’t care how tactically or operationally brilliant you are: if you cannot create harmony – even vicious harmony – on the battlefield based on trust across service lines, across coalition and national lines, and across civilian/military lines, you need to go home, because your leadership is obsolete.” (para. 7). The vast amount of experience General Mattis has in leadership commands that his words are to be respected. Without the formation of coalitions, little would get accomplished.
Furthermore, the Cambridge Dictionary (n.d.) defines a coalition as ‘a group formed of different organizations or people who agree to act together, usually temporarily, to achieve something” (para. 1). In fact, the American Historical Association (2018), finds that “connecting and collaborating with other organizations increases the impact if [its] advocacy efforts and enhances the resources…provide[d] to [its] members” (para. 1). The formation of coalitions can increase the impact of any advocacy group.
The coalition was developed for several reasons. First, knowing the statistics throughout our country provided us a reason to question our own community’s tobacco use. After conducting a community assessment, it was determined that a tobacco coalition was needed. Not only is the community affect by a high population of individuals that use tobacco, but with the current advertisements, availability of product, sources of smoking and accesses to flavored tobacco puts current youth at risk to begin smoking. The coalition was formed to provide the community with the dangerous facts about smoking, help prevent individuals from starting, and helping those that have been victims of big tobacco companies.
The coalition possess many core values. These values were established the best help support the current need in our community. Not only do we strive to stay current on all the facts about tobacco use, but we work to provide prevention tips and connect them with resources to help prevent and quit smoking. We also provided continued support for those quitting with one-on-one counseling and support groups.
There is an ever-growing concern for tobacco use, more so now that vaping is available and supposedly safer for users. According to the Center For Disease Control And Prevention (2019), If smoking continues among youth at the current rate, “5.6 million of today’s Americans younger than 18 will die early from a smoking related illness” (para. 1). Our plan is to move towards a healthier community by providing information to current and potential smokers about the dangers of long-term tobacco use and the For our coalition to be succeed and benefit our community, we need help. First, collaborating with different resources and community members will help to establish a chain of members and groups to support those in need. Next, we need as much support as possible. To be able to utilize our coalition to support the members of our community, we are requesting everyone’s verbal support. Lastly, to create success stories with lasting results, we need resources to be made available to the individuals in our community.
The coalition can help to inform the community that the tobacco epidemic battle can be sustainable in the community and beyond, ensuring that tobacco programs will work to reduce diseases, disabilities, and deaths related to tobacco use. Our mission is to get the facts out to people who need to hear them. Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of disease and death in the United States. Smokers die, on average, 10 years sooner than non-smokers. Nicotine changes the way the brain works, and ¾ of teens who believe they will quit, do not. Furthermore, almost one death in every five in the United States is due to smoking related illness (US Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.). Getting these facts out is important to preserve the health of the community.
The coalition’s Vision is to help the community through tobacco control programs via help lines and other means of support. No one is asking people to do this alone, and we understand and will be here for support. The goals are to prevent initiation among youth and young adults, promote quitting among adults and youths, eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke, and identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities among population groups (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2019).
The purpose of the coalition is to ensure that the community is healthy and that everyone has the same advantages available to them. The goal is to simply help smokers to stop smoking. Providing education to the community will help them to make informed decisions, and, hopefully, get more people involved. An informed community is a motivated community! With this motivation, the community members will have the best opportunity to make the right choices about tobacco use.
For a coalition against tobacco use to be successful, diversity is needed in the member roles. This diversity allows for a broader audience to be addressed. The inclusion of different backgrounds and disciplines allows for stronger partnerships and collaborations. The mobilization of individuals and organizations brings prominence to this community issue (Prevention Institute, n.d.). Once like-minded individuals have been assembled to help fight tobacco use in the community, the coalition will need to create plans to reinforce the current methods of prevention that are working. The coalition will then need to problem-solve why other formats are not working and develop solutions. Problem-solving and plan development will be done through regular meetings with members until there is a reduction in tobacco within the community (Prevention Institute, n.d.).
Change is never easy, especially when it pertains to addiction. Several life events can take us and lead us to start habits, good and bad. It can be the death of a loved one, an accident, disappointment, abuse, and even events leading up to adulthood and how an individual grew up. Listed are methods that the coalition will implement in its program.
1. Provide therapy
2. Provide online resources
3. Provide group activities
4. Provide educational, social, and clinical strategies
5. Communication interventions
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The coalition must earn trust within the community and other community partners offering services. Hiring a team of workers who have a passion for their jobs and are eager to get out into the field daily is essential. Having resources available for community partners such as colleges, high schools, after-school programs, and the general public increases visibility and helps to establish a solid foundation for the coalition to continue its efforts. As a grass roots program, the coalition may rely on donors and fundraising but as the coalition grows the option to establish a 501c3 will broaden its financial resources making room to propose funds for grants, hire more, staff and extend quality resources in the community (Sustaining A Community Coalition, 2019).
Neighboring communities are impacted when a successful coalition is willing to share its secrets to success or expands its programs. Successful coalitions are invited to speak about their programs via public presentations, webinars, or recorded videos. Templates are created for other communities to develop and implement similar programs based on the mission of successful coalitions. Relationships are built for future collaborations as these programs begin to thrive. The public is impacted as services are available and funding streams become available based on success that is data driven and tested.
To advocate for change in a community, a coalition is helpful and can increase the impact of that advocacy. The history of the coalition began when a needs assessment revealed the smoking was affecting many youths and adults in the community. This propelled the formation of the coalition to inform the community about the health risks as over five million of today’s youths could die early from smoking. Strong, empathetic leadership with solid delegation and follow-up skills will help to gather a diverse group for a long-term strategy.
Our strong core values will ensure a dedicated staff focused on longevity of the coalition. The mission is to inform the community of the dangers of tobacco use. Our vision is to use this information to get adults to quit smoking, and to keep youths from starting. Our purpose is to educate the community, so people are armed with information to make better choices. Change is not easy, but we will implement systems to help people including referral to therapy, online resources, group activities and more. Through passion in leadership and dedication of staff, we will spread through other communities with our message of hope. We will invite other organizations to collaborate through public presentation, webinars, and build strong relationships for lasting motivation. Hopefully, the message will spread through many communities reducing tobacco use, saving lives of adults and youths alike.