Urban Partnership for Success Collaborative – Miami (UPSCM)

Who we are: A drug-free coalition dedicated to educating and empowering youth
Where: Little Haiti, Liberty City, Brownsville, Overtown/Allapattah, Carol City/Miami Gardens, Opa-Locka, North Miami and North Miami Beach
Goal: Strengthen alcohol and substance abuse prevention at a community level and reduce/prevent alcohol, marijuana and opioid use in youth, ages 9-20

Gang Alternative, Inc. values collaboration. Partnering with organizations and individuals that share our passion for preventing and reducing substance use in youth in South Florida falls under one of our Five Pillars of Service, Community Upliftment and Partnerships. When we work with others and share ideas, we see and understand how people work, think, negotiate and operate.

The Urban Partnership for Success Collaborative - Miami (UPSCM) focuses on community-driven efforts to advance substance abuse prevention in youth. We do this by meeting jointly with the Urban Partnership Drug Free Community Coalition (UPDFCC) every month to discuss and implement strategies to change the social norms in the community and empower youth to lead healthier lives for brighter futures.

UPSCM is made up of 12 community sectors: youth, parents, media, schools, business, youth-serving organizations, law enforcement, civic or volunteer, religious or fraternal organizations, healthcare professionals, substance abuse agencies and state or tribal government agencies in the field of substance abuse. Participation by all these sectors is vital so there are a variety of opinions and strategies with a wide range of experiences. We believe there is strength in diversity and value different approaches to reach various audiences.

We raise awareness with youth in multiple ways. One is our Youth Frontline Coalition (YFC). The YFC is a peer-led movement where middle and high school students are taught skills to help educate other youth within their schools and communities.

A major emphasis is to provide data-driven planning with the help of a lead epidemiologist and to achieve needed system and policy change over the five-year life of the project. Such change will have enduring impact on conditions for youth living and growing up in high risk neighborhoods and will expand the county’s data capacity so that all existing and future prevention work will be more effective.

PRIDE Surveys will be used to assess more than 16,000 students during the 5-year grant period, reporting bi-annually the changes in students’ use, attitudes and norms regarding alcohol, marijuana and opioid use.

One of the long-term goals is to support public policy changes at the local and county level that reduce substance abuse and misuse. UPSCM is funded by SAMHSA and meets with UPDFCC on the third Thursday of the month