About Us:

The Monroe County CARES Coalition is funded, in part, by the Drug Free Communities (DFC) Support Program, a federal grant program that provides funding to community-based coalitions to reduce substance use among youth and strengthen community collaboration.  Our focus is to identify and address local youth substance use problems by creating sustainable community-level change.  Our environmental approach looks beyond the individual user to the group, community, and culture for factors that affect substance abuse.  It takes into account the fact that individuals do not become involved with substances solely on the basis of personal characteristics. Rather, they are influenced by a complex set of factors in the environment, such as the rules and regulations of the social institutions to which they belong, the norms of the communities in which they live, the mass media messages to which they are exposed, and the accessibility of alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drugs.


Vision:
"A healthy community free of substance abuse and related activities"

Mission:

"Reduce underage drinking, tobacco and prescription drug use through community involvement using skill building, policy development, and community education"

Our Story:

Coalitions have been working in Monroe County to combat the drug problem for almost a decade now, beginning with the development of the Monroe County Kentucky Agency for Substance Abuse Policy (KY-ASAP) Board in 2002. Over the years, different funding sources have led to the development of additional coalitions including the Monroe County Tobacco Coalition, the Monroe County Alliance for Inhalant Prevention and, most recently, the Monroe County Drug Free Communities (DFC) Coalition. 
 
In early 2011, these individual substance abuse coalitions united to form one integrated, coordinated, and sustainable coalition known as Monroe County CARES (Citizens Advocating Responsible EnvironmentS). This union has increased our cost effectiveness, expanded the delivery of our services and ultimately increased our ability to impact environmental policy change.

Monroe County CARES meets on the 2nd Thursday of every month at 11:00 am at the Monroe County Medical Center. The CARES Coalition is always looking to extend its current membership. If you are interested in becoming a member of our coalition or would like more information, please contact Dyshel Thompson at
dysheld.thompson@ky.gov or Amy Hutchinson at amy.hutchinson@monroe.kyschools.us or call 270.487.1368.


Coalition Members:
The Monroe County CARES coalition has members from all backgrounds and occupations who are dedicated to making their community a better place.

















































































               

      


































Coalition Directory


  
Tommy Willett, Monroe County Judge Executive

My name is Tommy Willett. I have served as a member of the CARES Coalition for 3 ½ years as a prescription drug abuse representative. My primary role is serving as the advisory and legislative contact. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because I care about the health and wellness of our youth! I volunteer with CARES because I care and want to make a difference.




 
 
Jill Ford

As Public Health Director for Monroe County Health Department, I am very passionate about being an active member of Monroe County CARES. Monroe County CARES focuses on alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drug abuse; each of which is a serious public health issue that impacts our community on multiple levels. Drug abuse and addiction was identified as one of the five major health concerns for Monroe County in our most recent community health assessment. The World Health Organization has coined tobacco as the single most preventable cause of death; and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that excessive alcohol use, including underage drinking and binge drinking, can lead to increased risk of health problems such as injuries, violence, liver diseases, and cancer. Monroe County CARES has and continues to make a strong impact on the well-being of our community. As a lifelong resident of Monroe County, I am very grateful that we are blessed with such an esteemed and determined coalition and I am honored to be a part of it. 
 
 

 






 

Michelle Graves

My name is Michelle Graves. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition for one year as a government agency sector representative. My primary role is serving on the Prescription Drug Workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because I have two children and want to do everything I can to see them grow to be drug-free adults. I volunteer with CARES because I want to do my part to keep our community drug-free.

 

Cathy Vannatten

My name is Cathy Vannatten. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition for one year as a Department of Juvenile Justice representative. My primary role is serving on the prescription drug workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because in my capacity as a DJJ worker I supervise juveniles involved with drugs because they have either received a drug related charge or may have been charged with something else but we find the drug use once involved.  Being involved in early intervention and prevention helps ensure that I never see some kids. I volunteer with CARES because the people involved with this group are an excellent group to work with.  Over my 15 years in the field the CARES group is one of the best I have worked with.  It’s amazing what we can do with everyone having the same focus and end game.

 
 


 

 

Jeff Denhard

My name is Jeff Denhard. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition for three years as a law enforcement representative. My primary role is serving on the Alcohol workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because I “CARE”! I volunteer with CARES because I care about a safe, healthy, and happy community. 

 

Sandy England

My name is Sandy England. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition since the start and on the inhalant coalition as a School/Family Resource Youth Service Center representative. My primary role is serving as the coalition secretary. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because I work with students on a daily basis with the drug testing and student health. I also have children in the high school and grandchildren in the elementary school, I want our community to be drug free. The children are our future. I volunteer with CARES because I have children and grandchildren, nieces and nephews that are part of this community and I want it to be a safe place for them to live and raise a family. I know that drug use is a problem in our county and want to help where I can. 

 

Linda Jones

My name is Linda Jones. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition for four years as a parent/grandparent representative. My primary role is serving on the tobacco workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because I want to see our youth in our community to become the fullest potential they can achieve. I volunteer with CARES because I am concerned about our community and our youth.  



  
Ginger Holcomb

My name is Ginger Holcomb.  I represent the Monroe Co. Retired Teachers Association as a volunteer with MC CARES.  I am also the leader of our Alcohol Work Group.  I believe strongly in our mission to reduce underage drinking, tobacco, and prescription drug abuse.
 




 
 

Yvonne Fields

My name is Yvonne C Fields. I have served as a member of the CARES coalition for several years as a parent representative. My primary role is serving on the Tobacco workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because they are the future of our country-- that they are healthy to sustain our families, society, and values. I volunteer with CARES because the issues our society faces with drugs in any form, will determine the well-being of our nation as a whole. 

  
Amy Thompson

My name is Amy W. Thompson. I just began to serve as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because protecting our youth from the dangers of drug abuse will help them have a safe and successful future.  I volunteer with CARES because I want to support the creation of a safe and drug free community for our children to grow up in.

 

Joy Graham

My name is Joy Graham. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition for five years as a Lifeskills Regional Prevention Center representative. My primary role is serving on the Prescription Drug workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because our youth are our future. With all of the challenges being presented to our youth today, being able to provide educational, emotional, and technical support to them keeps Monroe County a better place.  I volunteer with CARES because of all the wonderful work being done.


 

Shane Little

My name is Shane Little. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition for five years as a government representative. My primary role is serving on the Prescription Drug and Sustainability workgroups. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because substance abuse destroys children’s and adult’s chances for a bright, successful, and healthy future.  It not only has harmful and profound effects on the person abusing substances, but also that person’s extended family and community. I volunteer with CARES because it is the most involved group of professionals in Monroe County.  Each member contributes to helping persons experiencing substance abuse.  CARES can do more than any individual member because it works collaboratively among all its members to positively affect substance abuse prevention and intervention. 

 

 

Susan Clarkson

My name is Susan Clarkson. I have served as a member of the CARES coalition for 10 years as a business sector representative. My primary roles are serving on the Tobacco workgroup and Rx Drug workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because I hope that in the future these are not issues faced by our children. I volunteer with CARES because I care about my community and want to see the issues we work for improved. 

 

Glenda Wilson

My name is Glenda Wilson. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition since the beginning as the Youth Service Center representative. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because the youth are our future leaders. I volunteer with CARES because it is important to let the young people I work with every day to see adults wanting to make a better place for them to live.

 
 

Glenna Geralds


My name is Glenna Geralds. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition for eight years as a parent representative. My primary role is serving on the tobacco workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because I feel all children should enjoy the love and safety of growing up in a home that is safe and drug free. I volunteer with CARES because it is important to educate our children beginning a very young age about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.  If we are not willing to talk with children about these issues, there is always someone else who is willing to do it for us.  Parents must realize that there are many dangers and temptations for our children in a small community. 

 
 

Jean Blazier

My name is Jean Blazier. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition from the beginning as a Monroe County Schools Youth Service Coordinator. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because of community awareness. I volunteer with CARES because of prevention awareness for our student in Monroe County. 
 

Kelli Smith

My name is Kelli Smith. I have worked with the Monroe County CARES Coalition since January. My primary role is serving as the as the youth coordinator and leader of the Youth Prevention Ambassadors. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because there are so many negative situations that the youth are exposed to and may be tempted to be a part of, and I want to educate them and provide an alternative, positive environment.

 
 

Dyshel Thompson

My name is Dyshel Thompson. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition since the beginning as a health department representative. My primary role is serving as the Tobacco Workgroup leader, member of the Executive Committee, and CARES Project Director. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because of the negative impact addiction to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs has had on my family. I volunteer with CARES because I truly believe we can make a difference working together. 

 

Brooke High

My name is Brooke High. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition for two years as a law enforcement representative. My primary role is serving as the vice chair of the alcohol workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because our young people will soon become the future of our county and I want them to be productive citizens. The children are our future. I volunteer with CARES because it matters that people care about our community and I care about our youth. 

 


Melanie Anderson

My name is Melanie Anderson. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition for one year as a parent representative. My primary role is serving on the prescription drug workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because my family is part of this community and I want the best for not only my family but for all the families of Monroe County. I volunteer with CARES because I hope to make a difference in our community.




Amy Hutchinson

Hello!  I’m Amy Hutchinson, CARES Project Coordinator.  I’ve been with the coalition going on 9 years now and if I’ve learned anything during my time here, it’s that this town is full of friendly, caring people who are dedicated to making this community a better place to live and work.  What they have been able to achieve in such a short amount of time has been nothing short of amazing and I’m so proud that I can say I’ve been a part of it.  I think Margaret Mead said it best when she said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  Well I’ll tell ya if there ever was a coalition that could do just that, I’d put my money on Monroe County CARES! 

Sarah Absten 



Sarah Absten

My name is Sarah Absten. I am serving my first year as a member of the CARES Coalition as a mental health representative. My primary role is serving on the prescription drug workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because today substance abuse is a problem that continues to grow and one that is affecting Monroe County daily. Being able to work with youth in the county is one step closer to preventing substance abuse in Monroe County. I volunteer with CARES because I want to take an active role within the community to help the youth take a stand and stay strong. 




 

 Kathy Grace

Kathy Grace

My name is Kathy Grace. I have served as a member of the Monroe County CARES Coalition since the beginning. My primary role is serving on the alcohol workgroup. Preventing substance abuse among Monroe County youth is important to me because I work with youth on a daily basis. I care about them and want them to make wise choices for their future. I volunteer with CARES because I care about our youth and our community.

 

 Blanche Trimble


Randy Kerr