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Monroe Community Coalition coordinator mixing methods

By: Chris Hendrickson

April 25, 2016

Monroe News News

For more than a decade, Sultan resident Joe Neigel has worked to improve the health of communities throughout Snohomish County using focused, evidence-based strategies meant to help prevent young people from abusing drugs and alcohol.

Last year, after nearly 11 years as a prevention coordinator with Snohomish County, Neigel shifted gears and went to work as a prevention specialist for Monroe Public Schools. His decision came on the heels of the county’s announcement it would no longer serve as the fiscal agent for the grant-funded Monroe Community Coalition, a nonprofit prevention group that Neigel has headed up since its inception in 2013.

Monroe Public Schools stepped forward to serve as the group’s fiscal agent, and Neigel was offered a full-time position, so as to preserve his role as the coalition coordinator. 

In addition to enhancing coalition efforts through grants and fostering community partnerships, Neigel has made it his mission to inform prevention efforts through a customized training that incorporates Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and evidence-based prevention kernels, two completely separate fields of study that Neigel found can actually work together.

ACEs examines the long-term results of trauma-induced brain injury in children, while evidence-based prevention kernels are corrective measures that can be easily implemented by parents, educators and other human service professionals to improve outcomes for kids.

Initially, the training covered the foundation of ACEs and its implications, but offered little in the way of recourse. By bringing in evidence-based kernels, Neigel was able to transform a despairing message into one of hope.

“My early presentations left people feeling bleak, like there was nothing they could do about trauma, and I made the decision to leave folks feeling uplifted and empowered to make a difference,” Neigel said. “Unleashing access to prevention kernels while talking about adverse childhood experiences felt like a natural marriage.”

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