In 1995 a group of Rochester educators and other concerned individuals came together because of their concern about youth who were drinking, smoking and using other drugs. They formed the Rochester Coalition Against Drug Abuse and Violence. Even before the group incorporated, they had an impact on the community with a presentation on March 26, 1996, by H. Clay on how to help children and youth live up to their values when confronted with undesirable alternatives.
In October, 1997, the group became a non-profit corporation, The Rochester Community Coalition, with mission (as revised) “is dedicated to supporting healthy lifestyles, preventing and reducing substance abuse, and promoting safety in collaboration with youth, families and other sectors of our community”. In May of 1999, the Auburn Hills coalition asked to be included and we became the Rochester/Auburn Hills Community Coalition. It joined the national Community of Anti-drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) and the county Coalition of Healthy Communities, later to become the Alliance of Coalitions for Healthy Communities (ACHC). Coalitions believe in using multiple strategies over multiple sectors to achieve its goals and objectives.
In order to reduce the prevalence of substance abuse, the root cause as to why substances are being used needed to be understood. This led the RAHCC to examine the risk and protective factors prevalent in the community. Through the Search Institute Attitudes and Beliefs survey, data was gathered that illustrates the strengths and weaknesses of the various risk and protective factors.
From 2004 to 2009, RAHCC received a federal grant which was used for hiring full-time staff and offering several programs to youth to help them avoid or cease using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (ATOD). Also, RAHCC was able to sponsor a Teen Council and Club Pride, in which youth developed programs to take elementary-aged children to discourage drug use. Some funding comes through ACHC to continue to support programs.
A valuable program that started before the grant and continues on is Youth Dialogue Day, which brings youth and community leaders together to discuss issues of mutual concern. This occurs yearly, usually in the fall. RAHCC also continues to supply information and support to parents as they guide their youth.