TOGETHER

Tumwater, WA   |  www.ThurstonTogether.org

Mission

TOGETHER! advances the health and well being of all young people.

Ruling year info

1994

Acting Executive Director

Meghan Sullivan

Deputy Director

Meagan Darrow

Main address

1520 Irving St SW Suite A

Tumwater, WA 98512 USA

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EIN

91-1465778

NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Alliance/Advocacy Organizations (E01)

Community Coalitions (S21)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

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Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Community Center, After-School and Summer Academic Enrichment Programs

Community Center, After School and Summer Academic Enrichment Programs. TOGETHER! operates one Community Center, two After-School Tutoring or Enrichment Programs, and a Summer Reading Program serving low-income youth and families. In addition, we ran a pilot for a second Community Center this year that we hope to continue with town support.

In these programs, children are provided tutoring/homework help, and activities that further their social, emotional and cognitive development in a safe, supportive environment with appropriate mentors and role models. Youth learn new skills, demonstrate an increase in positive social behaviors,experience greater academic success in school, and learn skills,attitudes and behaviors to remain drug-free and safe. All programs focus on children, youth and families who are economically disadvantaged and who would not normally be able to access other support services.

The Community Center, located at a HUD-supported apartment complex, provides additional family support services, including access to the food bank and other community resources.Weekly Family Library Nights are provided at one local elementary school during the academic year, and another school offers space for our on-site tutoring program. In Rainier, we run a "lunch and literacy" month-long summer program, and we extend the lunch portion when we have support to do so.

There is no charge to participate in any of our programs.

Population(s) Served

TPEP educates the community about the dangers of tobacco use and abuse and also provides cessation resources. We facilitate youth advocacy groups such as Students Protesting Lies About Tobacco, and their activities such as teaching an anti-smoking curriculum (TATU) to younger children; cleaning up cigarette butts, chew cans and other tobacco refuse from city parks; and working with local governments to get laws and proclamations passed that keep youth from being exposed to secondhand smoke. We also give presentations at schools, tribal councils and conferences that educate about the dangers of commercial tobacco use. We provide quit-smoking kits and other cessation resources to those attempting to quit. We also attend school and health fairs and give away anti-tobacco items to children and youth, such as stickers and pencils. Strong working relationships exist with Thurston County Public Health and Social Services, Nisqually and Chehalis Tribes, and North Thurston Public Schools.

Population(s) Served

Citizen-based and community leader coalitions bring together representatives from schools, local jurisdictions, law enforecement, businesses, youth-serving organizations, service groups, parents, and others to address community issues and promote healthy youth development. A "Communities That Care" strategy is used to assess community needs and develop, implement, and evaluate a community action plan.

Various prevention efforts are implemented depending upon needs and available resources.

A Parent Resource Guide is published and distributed throughout the county. Media campaigns address prescription drug abuse and prevention of underage drinking. A Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention coalition works to educate the community, reduce youth access, and establish safe disposal options. Coalitions also run in Rainier and in Tenino/Bucoda, two communities who have high numbers of low-income families (most schools have more than 50% of the students on free/reduced lunches) and high instances of substance abuse among youth, along with permissive attitudes and norms among adults. Each coalition is formed to address its constituents' unique needs, so each takes a different approach.

Population(s) Served

Voices of Youth, a collaboration of youth and adults, primarily youth-driven, works on issues deemed important to youth, mostly within the categories of safety and health. T

The program uses a youth-adult power sharing model, partnering youth and adults in the community to identify barriers to student health, wellness and academic success. Students from 8 area high schools partner with elected officials, teachers, school administrators, and nonprofit and government leaders to assess community needs using data and implement youth-driven solutions to key issues facing our community that affect academic success, like substance abuse, poverty, mental and emotional health, nutrition and obesity, and more.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

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Awards

Nonprofit Organization of the Year Finalist 2007

Thurston Ecomonic Development Council

Olympia High School 2008

Community Organization of the Year

Nisqually Tribe 2009

Community Commitment Certificate

State of Washington 2001

Governor's Leadership Award

Community Youth Services 1995

Outstanding Organization of the Year

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) 1994

National Coalition of the Year Award

FBI 2000

Outstanding Recognition

Governor's Council on Substance Abuse 1993

Recognition Award

Thurston Community Network 2005

Making a Difference in the Life of a Child

North Thurston Public Schools 2012

Proud to be a Partner Award

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

TOGETHER!'s programming is a proven way to address factors leading to student dropout, youth substance use and other negative outcomes. Our programs respond to the needs of the community using the Communities that Care (CTC) model. CTC helps stakeholders apply research about risk and protective factors to improve youth development. Risk factors are characteristics of school, community, and family environments that predict increased likelihood of risky behaviors among youth such as substance use.

TOGETHER!’s full-service approach addresses community risk factors in a comprehensive way by providing interventions at the individual, community and environmental levels, creating sustainable progress toward our goals. We offer direct service youth programs, community prevention education and advocacy efforts.

Our Youth Services programs reach 700 youth and adults annually. The programs strive to improve student outcomes by offering youth a safe, supportive environment with clear expectations, trusted adults and skill-building opportunities. Our Community Prevention Education reaches over 15,000 youth and families annually. And Advocacy Efforts are the cornerstone of our work. We educate community leaders on youth and family issues to leverage support and make the deepest impact.

Abuse of drugs and alcohol is on the rise in Washington State, including among youth. Youth substance use is a key indicator in the overall success of our youth and community. The same youth who report using drugs and alcohol also report poor school performance, an increase in delinquency and other negative outcomes.

From the CTC framework, we know youth who lack protective factors (such as opportunities to experience positive stimulation for growth or nurturing support from family, friends, and their community) are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as drug use and experience academic failure. The number of risk factors present in the child’s environment also affects the likelihood of a negative outcome.

Unfortunately, the effects of our changing economy have included an increase in community and family risk factors. The repercussions of a struggling economy are evidenced by youth reporting lower rates of community connections, increase in depression and anxiety, and in turn a higher rate of binge drinking and drug use. The combination has left our community in need of increased capacity to address youth and family issues.

TOGETHER!’s activities and programs are designed to improve academic support; increase social skills; build nonviolent conflict-resolution skills; and prevent violence, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Ultimately, we seek to give all youth the support and tools they need to succeed.

TOGETHER!’s full-service approach addresses community risk factors in a comprehensive way by providing interventions at the individual, community and environmental levels, creating sustainable progress toward our goals. We offer direct service youth programs, community prevention education and advocacy efforts. We aim to increase prosocial opportunities for youth and offer them the chance to increase their protective factors while decreasing their risk factors, leading to a happier and healthier adulthood.

Internally, we have a 24-year history of working with science-based, results-driven techniques that have proven successful over and over. We have access to many best-practices curricula, and support an incredibly talented and intelligent staff and volunteer core who demonstrate competency in their fields, but also are always pursuing new enrichment opportunities. Many of our program managers are Certified Health Education Specialists. We are able to serve thousands of community members every year with documented positive impacts.

Partnership is essential for building a vibrant community of support that ensures our children can thrive. We offer a variety of programming that supports youth and families in a wide spectrum, but as we recognize that the community must work together to support itself, we include partners in nearly everything we do. Volunteers from the community, both general and professional, work with every program we run. Much of our programming space is donated in-kind by local schools, agencies and businesses. We have close partnerships with all of the local school districts and many of our programs currently run or have run within school walls, making sure our programming can reach the broadest spectrum of students possible. We also partner with other nonprofit organizations to maximize the impact of both our agencies. For example, Big Brothers Big Sisters provides mentors at our Community Center; the South Sound Reading Foundation gives free books to our participants; volunteers from GRuB teach our participants how to grow their own food; law enforcement members will run school supply drives for us, attend our National Night Out celebration, serve on our Board of Directors, and attend other events; and our Board of Directors is made up of volunteers from a wide cross-section of local industries, from education to business to government. This shows just a small part of the partnerships we can leverage in all of our programs, making sure the kids of Thurston and Mason Counties get the best services they can.

TOGETHER!'s community-mobilizing, coalition-building and prevention programming efforts have been recognized over the years by a variety of organizations, including Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Governor's Council on Substance Abuse, U.S. Department of Justice/FBI, Community Youth Services and the Thurston County Board of Health.

At TOGETHER! we consider the health of kids to be the most indicative sign of community success. You see, thriving kids are the key to economic stability. When young people have safe and strong lives, they become vital contributors to the local economy, as a customer or later as an employee.

Here is one example of progress: According to the Washington State Department of Health, for youth (ages 0-17), the smoking rate has dropped statewide from 25% in 1999 to 14% in 2008. “These are not just statistics; they’re real people who are alive today because of our tobacco prevention and control efforts,” said then-Gov. Chris Gregoire. Today, 50% fewer youth in our state smoke as a result of more than a decade of work by TOGETHER! and many partners. Yet smoking is still the No. 1 cause of preventable death and disease in Washington state, so our work is nowhere near complete.

Every other year when the statewide Healthy Youth Survey is released, we review it to see what we have accomplished and what we still need to work on. We can see significant overall progress in our work to reduce prescription drug abuse and underage drinking and tobacco use. However, youth marijuana use is on the rise, so we must address that while not allowing the other dangers to rise again as well.

Financials

TOGETHER
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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TOGETHER

Board of directors
as of 9/22/2017
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Rick Hughes

LOTT Clean Water Alliance

Term: Jan 2010 - Dec 2010

Rick Hughes President

LOTT Clean Water Alliance

Cynthia Pratt Vice President

Lacey City Council

Virgil Clarkson Treasurer

Lacey City Council

Farah Derosier Secretary