MISSION:Drug-Free Communities Genesee County Prevention Coalition


The vision of the Genesee County Prevention Coalition (GCPC) is to impact substance use and mental health concerns in the community in hope of changing knowledge, attitudes and behaviors, states Lisa Fockler, Program Director. According to its website, GCPC is a diverse group of people working within the community to develop new and different methods to prevent and reduce substance use and mental health disorders. Their mission is, “improving behavioral health through innovative strategies and community partnerships to prevent mental health and substance abuse disorders impacting Genesee County youth and adults.”

The Coalition focuses on three main initiatives: underage drinking (under age 21), youth marijuana use, and prescription drug misuse and abuse (age 12-25). “Our strategy is not just to focus on the individual, but to also address the issues and the environment, communitywide,” Fockler states. They also look at communities to see what might be supporting high-risk behavior, such as retailers selling to minors or parents providing alcohol to minors. They address these issues in communities all over Genesee County. “Our long-term goal is to help build local coalitions in individual communities,” she adds.

There are four staff members at GCPC, the program director and three prevention specialists. The work is carried out by coalition groups, staff and work groups, explains Leah Maschino, Prevention Specialist, adding that anyone can be a member – an individual, business or organization – and participate in work groups. “We would like to see more representatives from the communities, the businesses, parents and youth,” Fockler adds.

GCPC holds a monthly meeting with its community partners. “We like to highlight a coalition partner at the meeting and share what they provide,” Fockler says. Partners of the Coalition include: Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), Alliance of Coalition for Healthy Communities (ACHC) the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and Region 10 PIHP. “We want to spread the message and we use our partners to get the word out,” the director explains. “There are a lot of resources in Genesee County. We collaborate, coordinate and pool our resources together for a bigger impact.”

According to Fockler, the GCPC doesn’t provide direct services but, within its network, referrals can be made to agencies, support groups and service organizations. “Our role is to be a resource and to connect with other agencies. We try to be proactive and have a presence in the community, such as participating in health fairs, giving out information at the Flint Farmers’ Market and visiting schools.”


(l-r) General Arthur T. Dean (Chairman/CEO, CADCA), Pat Castillo (Director of National Coalition Institute & VP of Training Operations, CADCA), LaKisha Bah-Stewart (GCPC Board Member), Lisa Fockler (GCPC Executive Director), Ronnie Wiggins (GCPC Board Member), Sean Fearns (Chief, DEA Community Outreach)

The director would like people to know that the Coalition model involves 12 sectors of the community including parents, businesses and religious organizations. “We want the community to realize that it’s not just one sector that will solve the problem. Our job is to help the WHOLE community see the role they play.”

There are risk factors to consider, but on the other side of that, there are protective factors to be considered. “That’s where everyone has a role to play,” Fockler states. “Everyone can work to build protective factors in youth, and it starts with developing a relationship with young people.”

“Society seems to have moved away from developing personal relationships. We sometimes forget how important it is to foster relations on a personal level,” the director shares. “You can have 100 likes on the Facebook page, but to call a friend and have a conversation seems to be more challenging.”

The GCPC is also a partner with the Genesee Intermediate School District that serves all of the school districts in Genesee County. A survey is done every other year with seventh, ninth and eleventh-graders. “It helps us identify local conditions we want to address,” Fockler says.

Last year, the Coalition was able to send three of its staff and two board members for intensive training at the National Coalition Academy (NCA). “The training course was designed to prepare coalitions to utilize data and planning strategies to address our prevention issues,” says Fockler, who attended the training. “The training also helped prepare us for writing our own Drug Free Community Grant.” The $125,000 grant is intended to address local conditions including underage drinking and marijuana use, and will allow the Coalition to hire a youth coordinator.

“We are so proud of our coalition for investing the time and resources to take advantage of the best community coalition training in the world,” says Fockler. “To graduate from this year-long intensive course is no small feat and GCPC is more prepared today to be an effective, sustainable coalition because of this training. We look forward to applying our knowledge and strategies to ensure the youth in our community live drug-free.”

“We look forward to applying our knowledge and strategies to ensure the youth in our community live drug free.”
Lisa Fockler, Program Director



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