Building A Safer Evansville
MISSION: To raise awareness about the impact that high risk behaviors have on our community, provide education and engage all stakeholders in order to reduce youth substance abuse.
BASE was started in 2009 when local leaders compared the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) results with Rock County and Wisconsin averages. They noticed that Evansville students reported increases in alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and other drugs that exceeded Rock County and Wisconsin averages. This same year, a local youth died in a drinking related car accident and there were two youth suicides in the Evansville School District. This, coupled with the results of the Evansville YRBS, were the catalysts for Evansville community leaders to come together and begin seriously talking about how to address these issues.
Partners in Prevention Rock County, Inc. and BASE entered into a formal Drug Free Communities Support Mentoring agreement in October 2010. The Mentoring grant helped BASE to successfully plan and implement prevention activities over a two year period. BASE created Bylaws, a communication plan, gathered and analyzed data and created an organizational chart and logic model. To identify the contributing factors leading to the substance use issues in Evansville, BASE members gathered data from several sources to complete a comprehensive community assessment. This included: Community Readiness Survey, Environmental Scan of Evansville’s outlets that serve or sell alcohol , Parent Interviews, Key Leader Interviews, parent, middle and high school focus groups and the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) administered in Evansville every other year, most recently in January 2014.
In March of 2012 BASE applied for a Drug Free Communities Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The Drug Free Communities Support Program (DFC) is a Federal grant program that provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use. The philosophy behind the DFC program is that local drug problems require local solutions. With a small Federal investment, the DFC program doubles the amount of funding through the DFC program’s match requirement, to address youth substance use. Recent evaluation data indicate that where DFC dollars are invested, youth substance use is lower. Over the life of the DFC program, youth living in DFC communities have experienced reductions in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use.