Initial conversations between Prevention Professionals about the impact of the social determinants of health, and the lack of ethnic and racial diversity within the current workforce to provide culturally appropriate prevention and wellness services started about four years ago. There was an underlying concern about the appalling health disparities data presented about our communities without community engagement. Furthermore, these professionals felt it was their obligation and duty to invest their time, talents, and experiences to serve the community better as they have stood on the shoulders of those that came before them!
Additionally, these professionals agreed that provider agency staff did not always accurately reflect the demographics of the service population. As such, community members were often reluctant to engage in community prevention and wellness activities. This group of seasoned professionals received training on a variety of evidence-based theories, strategies, programs, and practices yet, still felt a void existed in the practical application of these frameworks for communities of color. As these conversations continued, an opportunity was presented by OhioMHAS to the Franklin County ADAMH Board to increase the capacity of the prevention workforce in urban communities. That was the first step towards building a culturally competent health and wellness infrastructure.
With funding through the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in partnership with the Alcohol Drug Abuse Mental Health Board (The ADAMH Board) of Franklin County, the Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program of Franklin County (UMADAOPFC) provided evidence-based prevention workshops that primarily correlated with the phases of the Strategic Prevention Framework but more importantly responded to the needs of Franklin County's underserved, Urban communities. On September 19, 2019, Summerlee Godbolt, Marketing Director of Global Insight Productions, LLC, presented How To Brand and Market Your Prevention Services. As part of the workshop, Ms. Godbolt invited participants to create their prevention program and, in turn, develop a plan of how they would market it to the public. One of the groups came up with a concept and presented it to the workshop attendees, and it was very well received. The idea was Be The Village! A few months later, a few interested people connected and decided to develop the concept further and organized a planning council. The Council had its first meeting on January 10, 2020, and revised its original idea to be more inclusive. On that day, BeTheVillageOHIO was born!
The idea behind the original marketing plan was that individuals and families need an extended family beyond mothers and fathers to provide support and encouragement for the positive growth and development of young people. The extended family includes but is not limited to: grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, coaches, mentors, church members, etc.
The notion of an extended family is not new at all and is well known and steeped within African-American tradition. In essence, BeTheVillageOHIO is the multi-collaborative effort of individuals, families, and organizations working together to promote positive youth development that advances the social, emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing of the entire community. Although the inception started in Columbus, this grassroots movement strongly believed that could be shared statewide to impact the health and wellness of all Ohioans.
If it takes a Village….BeTheVillageOHIO