Prevention Works is Guiding Good Choices

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Prevention Works is arming Southwest Michigan with the tools it needs to build a brighter future.


The prevention-focused nonprofit is built upon best practices for community-wide prevention of drug and alcohol use, relationship violence, adolescent health, and more—with a primary focus on youth and families. Prevention Works offers evidence-based programs specially-designed for the community, including at-risk youth and families facing incarceration, separation, or custody issues. Overall, Prevention Works exists in hopes of providing Southwest Michigan with the tools it needs to live healthy, happy lives filled with positive relationships and supportive outlets.

A major way in which Prevention Works is able to continuously impact its community is through consistently expanding its list of services.

Recently, says Vershurn Ford, family program coordinator at the nonprofit, the nonprofit began conducting a brand-new program it’s especially excited about: Guiding Good Choices. ”It’s designed to work alongside parents in active recovery from substance, which was a contributing factor in the separation from their children.” says Ford. “We have a large number of families in Kalamazoo that don’t have their children in the home—those children have who been removed and are in temporary foster care; they’ve been separated from their parents as a result of substance-related abuse and neglect.” The focus of Prevention Works’ family programs prior to the addition of Guiding Good Choices was mainly focused on youth attending with their parents and caregivers—breakout parent and youth sessions are held with a closing family session, focused on family dynamics, building bonds and relationships between parents and children. But, as Ford acknowledges, “Before now, we didn’t have an ideal parent program to accommodate circumstances in which children are displaced or separated from their parents.”

This new program is comprised of five-sessions, each of which are two hours in length and offer a platform for honest conversation, tough questions and raw, vulnerable parenting dialog. Prevention Works is intentional with providing warm and welcoming parent engagement, videos to model parenting styles and interactive practice exercises, allowing parents variety in learning and growing. Enrollment in this new program, as with other family programs from the nonprofit, is kick started by online self-referrals and case manager referrals from human services agencies and drug-court.

In Guiding Good Choices and other longstanding programs, the proof of Prevention Works’ impact on the Kalamazoo community can be found on any of the thousands of people it touches each year. From its program participants and surrounding community members, Prevention Works’ outreach is far and wide—and lasting.

For more, visit prevention-works.org/.


At the first-ever High School Catalyst conference, facilitated by Southwest Michigan First in tandem with Catalyst University, Prevention Works was selected as winner of United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region’s “Pop Up Giving” winner by attendees. For more information on the Pop-Up Giving program, visit: changethestory.org/pop-up-giving/

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