MIH has a rich history of providing culturally competent services within the region and involving our diverse membership with decision making and developing our strategic plans. Our regional population of approximately 200,000 individuals with an extremely diverse culture has kept the development of the coalition interesting! Manchester, the largest city in NH has a population of 110,000 people with over 50 languages spoken in the school system. Outside of Manchester, many of the towns in the region are very rural with populations under 5,000. The cultural diversity within the region calls for a variety of prevention programs and initiatives to meet regional needs.
Throughout the years the coalition has been at the forefront of bringing prevention efforts into the region. Awarded the first Federal Drug Free Communities Support grant (DFC) for a NH community in 1997, the coalition has lead the way in developing positive thinking around collaboration, building partnerships and staying current with the ever changing trends around prevention.
In early summer of 2010 the MIH coalition completed the region’s strategic plan as laid out within the Strategic Plan Framework (SPF SIG) project. This project was funded under federal dollars and managed through the NH Bureau of Drug and Alcohol unit (BDAS), a division of the NH Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). A lot of acronyms + a lot of people + a significant amount of funding. This project brought a systems change to our prevention efforts within the region, allowing us to support our partners such as the Crispin’s House coalition in Goffstown, The Bedford Youth Coalition in Bedford, the Weed and Seed program and the Student’s Assistance Program within the Manchester Public school system. In addition we were able to utilize funding to encourage the development and implementation of programs to enhance the positive, healthy development of our youth population, while offering education and substance abuse awareness forums for the parents and community members.
October of 2010, brought exciting change to the region, introducing a more regional and collaborative approach to our prevention efforts. MIH has taken the lead for our region and expanded our reach to include eight communities (Auburn, Bedford, Candia, Deerfield, Goffstown, Hooksett, New Boston and Manchester), expanding our name to: Makin’ It Happen, Greater Manchester Regional Network (MIH) – but you can still call us Makin’ It Happen! To begin this journey, MIH had partnered with Easter Seals, NH to fill the role of our fiscal sponsor as was required by our BDAS Block grant funding. As our fiscal sponsor and collaborative partner, Easter Seals, NH brought their award winning customer service, solid volunteer model and fund raising skills to the table.
In the fall of 2011, MIH embarked on a nine-month strategic plan development process. This process included regional partner work groups such as a Data Information Group, Resource Information Group and collaborative sessions with the Center for Excellence, Regional partners and Learning Collaborative sessions all with the goal of developing a three year strategic plan that would address our identified goals.
January 2013 brought more change to the statewide prevention plan – calling for a joint partnership strategy between Public Health – Emergency Preparedness Network currently managed by the Manchester Health Department and the Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services Substance Abuse Prevention Regional Network System – which Makin’ It Happen currently leads for the Greater Manchester Region. This prompted the Board of Makin It Happen to rethink our fiscal sponsorship relationship and successfully re-apply for our own 501(c)3 status. This allows us to apply for additional funding and also to contract with the Manchester Public Health Department for the current DHHS-BDAS Block grant funding for our important substance misuse work. Our partnership in health initiatives is strengthened by additional funding from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. As we navigate through to the future of these collaborative efforts, MIH will be at the table ready to help ensure a smooth transition and continued focus on prevention, treatment and recovery across the lifespan, leading to healthy communities – stay tuned!!