The Sanford Strong Coalition traces its roots back to 2003 when Strategies for a Stronger Sanford was formed as a grass roots initiative
of service providers, corrections officers and court staff in York County who sought to develop alternatives to sentencing juveniles. Recognizing that a healthy environment for youth is one which richly reinforces desirable behavior, they agreed that an effective response should include providing opportunities to engage Sanford’s youth in positive activities and to create meaningful roles for them to build skills and motivation.
In 2009 a coalition was formed to bring together Sanford area organizations and partners to build assets in the community that would allow area youth the opportunity to thrive. The coalition included school officials, law enforcement, health organizations, substance abuse and mental health providers, among dozens of others.
In early 2011 the coalition and Strategies for a Stronger Sanford formed a close partnership with Strategies providing critical infrastructure and staffing to the coalition. As the partnership was being formed, Strategies for a Stronger Sanford was awarded a Drug Free Communities grant, a Federal grant program that provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use by increasing protective factors and reducing risk factors among youth at the community level. At this time, the Sanford School Department approached Strategies for a Stronger Sanford to serve as their Lead Community Partner in their District Level Systems Change Planning Grant.
In 2012 the Coalition officially assumed the name of Sanford Strong Coalition, formed a Steering Committee, and engaged in an intensive strategic planning and communications effort to establish its presence in the Greater Sanford area.