TOGETHER! has been igniting change across the South Sound and beyond since 1989 with health promotion, youth development and prevention initiatives.
In May 1989, community leaders in Thurston County met with social development researchers from the University of Washington to discuss the growing presence of substance abuse problems in our neighborhoods and schools. They embraced the "Communities That Care" research-based model for developing a comprehensive, community wide plan to combat the problem. This meeting gave birth to TOGETHER!.
Over the succeeding twelve months, TOGETHER! grew from a vision to a grass-roots campaign to mobilize the communities of Thurston County into a coordinated effort to prevent youth violence and youth alcohol, drug and tobacco use. Fifty-six key community leaders collaborated in program development, all dedicated to the vision of safe and drug-free communities for our youth.
TOGETHER! incorporated and was granted Washington State non-profit corporation status in September 1989, and IRS 501(c)(3) determination in June 1990. Grants and service contracts that have funded programs, operations and evaluation have included awards from federal, state and county agencies; local jurisdictions; and private foundations, and support from local businesses and interested individuals.
TOGETHER!'s community-mobilizing, coalition-building, and direct substance abuse and violence prevention-focused programming efforts of our first two and a half decades were recognized over the years by a variety of organizations, including Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Governor's Council on Substance Abuse, U.S. Department of Justice, Community Youth Services, and the Thurston County Board of Health.
In the early twenty-teens TOGETHER! shifted our focus to that of health and educational equity, going upstream from drug abuse prevention consistent with the public health risk and protective factor model science we were founded on. Since then, ongoing work continues at the staff and board levels to center equity and build community in order to change systems to dismantle racism and end oppression.
All people deserve social, health and educational equity.
We partner with families, schools, and the community to collaboratively address root causes to community problems.
We lead and support change across sectors to serve the needs of the whole child.