CASA GRANDE — With a goal of increasing student and family success and building a healthy community, education is a big part of the mission of the Casa Grande Alliance.

"Historically, our small nonprofit has been primarily focused on delivering primary prevention messaging in a variety of ways," said Casa Grande Alliance Director Bob Shogren. "Recently, we have been more focused on identifying and addressing the root causes of substance dependence, addiction and abuse. We have also been focused on building partnerships and offering programs that deliver encouraging messages of hope, healing and resilience."

The organization offers various classes, programs and workshops for area residents.

"We are spending an increasing amount of time offering support and encouragement to parents and families in need. In addition, we have been helping parents with community and social service resource navigation," Shogren said.

Last year, events held by the Casa Grande Alliance engaged 107 new members in the activities.

"Additionally, we have conducted 33 community education workshops and 42 public education and awareness activities," Shogren said. "Overall, our efforts have engaged over 600 adults, 457 youth and 55 families."

Among the programs and learning opportunities offered by Casa Grande Alliance are:

  • Strong Families Program, an eight-week program for families with children ages 10 to 14 that aims to help parents build on their parenting skills, helps children transition into their teenage years and prepares them for the pressures they might face.
  • Triple P Parenting offered in partnership with Prevent Child Abuse Arizona; the program works with small groups of parents of elementary school-age children and students with special needs to give parents simple and practical strategies to help them build strong, healthy relationships, confidently manage their children’s behavior and prevent problems from developing.
  • Community Prevention and Professional Development Training, offered to young people, businesses, educational and social service organizations. Presentations include overcoming childhood adversity and delivering trauma-informed customer service, opioid misuse prevention training for employers, fentanyl and methamphetamine crisis training, Naloxone and overdose training, prisoner reentry in the community, protective factors training and other trainings that can be customized for organizations.

Casa Grande Alliance is also involved in a community naloxone distribution, which, in partnership with Sonoran Prevention Works and the Substance Abuse Coalition Leaders of Arizona, serves as a community training and distribution point for naloxone and Narcan.

Through its Middle School Student and Family Support service, Casa Grande Alliance is working in partnership with area public middle schools to coordinate youth, parent and family support programming guided by parent advisory committees.

"The programming engages students and adults during the after-school and early evening hours. Our family support programming initiative aligns with the standards of the National Family Support Network," Shogren said.

The Casa Grande Youth Alliance — a diverse group of students from middle and high school that engage in developing and sharpening leadership skills, assessing needs and developing projects to address those needs through volunteer service to school and community — helps Casa Grande Alliance keep its finger on the pulse of area young people.

"A goal for all Youth Alliance members is to earn the Presidential Volunteer Service Award," Shogren said.

The impact of the pandemic has been a focus of recent concern, he said.

Since the pandemic started, Casa Grande and communities nationwide have seen an increase in overdose related deaths. According to Shogren, much of it has to do with "an influx of illicit pills and marijuana products that have been laced with fentanyl."

He noted that in most overdose cases the fentanyl substances often come from friends who "don't really know what they are sharing" as there is no real way of telling what amount of fentanyl a pill as been laced with. 

More information about the organization, its programs and volunteer opportunities is online at www.casagrandealliance.com. The office may be reached by calling 520-836-5022. It's located at 280 W. McMurray Blvd.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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