Draper Communities That Care Coalition Works With All for a Healthy Draper
Draper resident Gaile Dupree believes the more engaged our community is in addressing problem behaviors among our youth, the better.
“We need to proactively create a safe environment for our kids to not only survive, but thrive,” Dupree says. “It truly takes a village.”
Dupree is the Coordinator for Draper Communities That Care (DCTC), a coalition formed to help the community take a proactive role in the success of its young people by addressing the risk and protective factors within the community and in turn promoting healthy behaviors.
“There’s nothing more important than the youth of our community. They are our future. Unfortunately, some stray into delinquent behavior and substance abuse. Through Communities That Care, we adopt and implement evidence based strategies to turn the tide and give our youth every opportunity to be successful contributors to their community,” says Draper Chief of Police Bryan Roberts, who brought the organization into the Draper Police Department.
With a village in mind, the coalition brings together diverse groups within the community including students, city council members, parents, school officials, faith-based groups and local business leaders, with the goal of working together for solutions.
Jeremy Piehler, pastor of youth ministries at Draper’s South Mountain Community Church, joined DCTC as a board member because of his 13 years working with young adults. He said Dupree and DCTC are highly invested in making Draper a healthier community.
“Gaile is energized, she’s got a vision and she is a good leader. What is important in leadership is the ability to get people on board with the vision and work towards realizing it. That is what Gaile does,” he says.
Sustained effort and commitment are keys to a community’s long-term health, he says.
“We look around at our prosperous community with its low crime and think all is well, which for most people means they don’t think there is work to do,” he says. “But in reality the long term health of a community happens on purpose, not by accident, so there is always work to do.”
His role as youth pastor offers him a unique perspective on community problems.
“There is no pretense here,” he says. “No white-washed, everything-is-perfect-here attitude. I see a lot of hurting people and families. DCTC helps communities create an environment for students, teens, and families to thrive.”
The foundation of the coalition is data driven and gleaned from sources such as SHARPS (Student Health And Risk Prevention Survey) to determine risk factors specific to Draper. It is also based on prevention science, the philosophy that when you know what the risks are you can put protective factors in place to prevent the problem. The end goal is to implement evidence-based programs, therefore reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors within Draper.
The organization then finds creative ways to address and educate parents and teens on prevention and promoting healthy behaviors. DCTC representatives have been at parent-teacher conferences and sponsored Prescription Drug Take Back day.
Recently, DCTC partnered with ParentsEmpowered.org and the High School Mountain Biking Association at a biking event in Draper. In partnering with local bike shops, it provided free bike tune-ups to kids, while also providing “tune-ups” to parents— including a lanyard with tips on substance abuse prevention.
Annemarie Christopulos, general manager of Draper’s Treehouse Athletic Club and DCTC board member, believes knowledge is power when it comes to serving the community and keeping it healthy.
“Many community residents haven’t been in junior high or high school for 20 plus years and aren’t aware of the substances and pressures kids are exposed to today. Participating in DCTC is an education on how to be a better parent, a better business leader, and a better community member,” she says.
Interested in volunteering with DCTC? Email Gaile Dupree at DraperCTC@Draper.Ut.Us or visit Draper.Ut.Us