COOPER COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE
1. Briefly describe the structure of your program.
Communities That Careis a comprehensive community approach to the prevention of adolescent health and behavior problems. Essential to the Communities That Care approach is the leadership and commitment of local leaders. It is important to the success of this risk-focused prevention approach that key leaders (the mayor, the chief of police, the superintendent of schools, business leaders, etc.) become involved in the process. In our case, presentations were made to the mayor and the chief of police as well as representatives of the school system. All segments are represented on our Prevention Task Force which is under the management of the City of Detroit Youth Department.
The Task Force met to explore strategies to increase the academic and social success of students and increase the likelihood of parental and community involvement in the lives of students. These meetings resulted in a program model which has a philosophy focusing on the school as a family center from which healthy individuals may emerge. The approach is grounded in multiple life domains, considering needs of the total person for physical, mental, and emotional health, as well as for health in relationships and environment.
Next, the Task Force began to identify or develop the supports most needed by students and families in the area. With the philosophy of transforming Cooper into the Center of the Community, Task Force members began to select services which included conflict resolution, drug and gang resistance, tutoring and literacy, recreation and arts, health and parent and community support programs. The result was a collaboration of in-school and after-school services that provide students a variety of avenues to experience new opportunities and personal growth and development.
The Cooper Community Development Initiative (CCDI) is a comprehensive multi-faceted program that addresses the priority risk factors of low neighborhood attachment/community disorganization, early academic failure, lack of commitment to school and community laws and norms favorable toward drug use and crime. Through the Youth Department a variety of community organizations were involved in addressing the identified risk factors.
CCDI operates at Cooper Elementary school on the east side of Detroit in the 9th precinct. Dr. Eddie Green, Detroit Public School Interim Superintendent, has sanctioned the program for inclusion at Cooper. School enrollment is approximately 920 students.
The Youth Department subcontracts with Black Family Development, a respected local mental health service provider, to deliver mental health services and assume responsibility for overall management of the day-to-day activities of the project. Black Family Development has the staff, resources, and experience to facilitate a collaborative partnership with each of the service providers.
A major emphasis has been placed on ongoing communication, ongoing problem solving, shared decision making and achieving tasks and outcomes in accordance with established time lines.
The case management component of the program is based upon a team approach to service delivery with school personnel being an integral part of the team process. The school counselor will be involved in all case management meetings where there is discussion about the needs of a particular child/family and discussion about which agencies to refer the child/family for services. The teacher involved in the discussions will be the one who has had the most contact with the referred family. Other members of the school team, other than the counselor and the teacher would be the case manager, mental health professional, site manager and one or two staff from the agencies involved in the collaboration.
Detroit Police Department
An acronym for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, the programís primary goal is to stop the demand for illegal drugs among children, who are being exposed to this menace at increasingly earlier ages and in greater numbers than ever before. The 17 week program is targeted toward students exiting elementary school because they appear to be most vulnerable to peer pressure as they enter the more streetwise, middle-school environment. Approximately 100 students participate.
Detroit Police Department
The Gang Resistance Education and Awareness Training curriculum is designed to assist students in developing the skills necessary to avoid the pressures to become involved in negative gang activities. Program content, directed toward fifth graders, is provided by Detroit Police officers
American Resolution Services
American Resolution Services provides Conflict Resolution Training to 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. Each grade level participates in sessions once a week. The primary focus is to train students in peacefully resolving conflicts, setting goals, anger management, communication and decision-making skills. A Mediation Center will be developed in the second semester. All students participating in the after school Karate activity are required to participate in conflict resolution training.
Detroit Health Department and Lovelight Foundation
Health needs were also addressed during the Task force selection process. The Detroit Heath Department provides lead poison testing, immunizations and health care referrals. Another partner, The Lovelight Foundation opened an on-site dental clinic. Students are provided with exams, sealants and referrals when needed.
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.