John Grimley is the coordinator for the Working Together Coalition (WTC). The coalition works to develop community prevention strategies to reduce alcohol and drug abuse among our teen population.

"The WTC is an organization focused on lowering the rates of substance use, specifically within our school-aged community," Grimley said. "We work towards being part of a healthy, thriving community free from the effects of substance abuse. The coalition has been active since 2008, and in that time, our community has seen the rate of 30-day use of alcohol among ninth-graders cut in half from 35 percent in 2007 to 17 percent in 2016. WTC coordinates with student groups to involve teens in strategizing ways to reach their population."

John also heads up the Responsible Beverage Server Training in Cass County, which has helped liquor establishments effectively recognize underage customers and intoxication levels of customers. This free service is mandatory for liquor licenses in Cass County.

John works with coalition members (community volunteers) to "create evidence-based strategies that help reduce the use and abuse of alcohol and other substances by using scientifically proven techniques."

I am not a scientist, community leader, parent or grandparent of a child in school now, but I belong. Why? As the saying goes, "It takes a village to raise a child." This means the WTC needs representation from all walks of life on the coalition to help strategize what is needed in our community.

That is you - baker, banker, teacher, preacher, policeman, parents, leaders and business owners in our community. And Joe Public and Jane Public (like me) who care about our kids.

To get involved, please swing by a meeting held at the Lifehouse Coffee Shop at 3:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month or contact John at 218-838-2647 or Thanks!