The Makin’ It Happen Coalition for Resilient Youth, Inc. (Makin’ It Happen)(MIH) has been serving the Greater Manchester region for over twenty-one years. Focused on building capacity, encouraging collaboration and supporting the development of healthy thriving communities for our youth, families and communities.
Makin’ It Happen has a rich history of providing consistent, evidence-based, research informed programs and services within the region. Strategic plans are development in collaboration with our partners and community representatives. The regional population of approximately 180,000 includes very small rural communities with populations of less than 10,000 as well as the city of Manchester, the largest city in the state of New Hampshire. Within the region we have some of the poorest of poor, and the most educated and wealthiest NH residence. The diversity within the region calls for a variety of unique strategies to meet the needs and build smart deliberate approaches designed to build resiliency, strengthen through knowledge and fortify the well-being of individuals.
Throughout the years the coalition has been at the forefront of prevention efforts within the region. Awarded the first Federal Drug Free Communities support grant (DFC) for a NH community in 1997, the coalition has led the way in developing positive thinking around collaboration, building partnerships and staying current within the ever changing trends, research and innovative prevention strategies.
In the summer of 2010 MIH 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 was managed through the NH Bureau of Drug and Alcohol Services (BDAS) unit, 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. We were able to expand our reach and support partners such as the Crispin’s House Coalition of Goffstown, the Bedford Youth Coalition, located and serving the town Bedford, the Weed and Seed Program and the Student’s Assistance Program, within the city of Manchester. 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.
In the fall of 2011, MIH embarked on a nine-month strategic plan development process. This process included regional partners, work groups such as a data information group, Resource Information group and collaborative community based sessions facilitated by the NH Center of Excellence. In addition, regional representatives participated in Learning Collaborative sessions with the goal of developing a three-year strategic plan that would address our identified goals.
January 2013 brought more change to our work, as the state strategies made a shift. This shift would be the beginning stage of a new state-wide approach, laying the foundation for the establishment of a Regional Public Health Network system – designed to cover the entire state, bringing consistent leadership and services to every community. This new strategy would pare emergency preparedness and Substance Misuse Prevention together to form Public Health Advisory Councils to steward the development of new plans. For the Greater Manchester region, because of our history of collaboration and public health approach, MIH has been able to continue leading the prevention efforts, while deepening our partnership with the Manchester Health Department, which leads the regions emergency preparedness efforts.
In 2015, the Regional Pubic Health Network expanded, bringing funding and focus to the region through the establishment of a Substance Use Disorder Continuum of Care system. MIH was able to add staff and take on this body of work, once again teaming up with the Manchester Health Department. Throughout the past five years, our region, state and nation has been dealing with an addiction crisis never experience before in our nation’s history. Because of our region’s rich history of collaboration and determination, the region has responded quickly to the crisis, adapting approaches, solving unexpected issues, through deepening partnerships, and continues to try new innovative approaches, to address the complex issue of addiction.
In 2017, Young Adult Strategy funding was added to the mix. Focused on enhancing opportunities and understanding the needs of this targeted population. MIH is developing programming and pilots designed to give young adults a voice and work in partnership with them, encouraging our young people to stay, work and play in NH.
We encourage you to follow our journey forward as we continue our mission to build resiliency through collaboration and partnerships.