SAFE in Northern Michigan

OT Consultants worked collaboratively with SAFE in Northern Michigan, a program of the Department of Health and Human Services that’s focused on reducing drug use you attending 11 high schools schools. Participants use GIS to map where they implement key activities targeted to raise awareness and start a conversation about youth drug use.  Our team gamified an open source GIS platform that keeps score of the winning high school that complete the most activities. 

Youth Led, Adult Guided” is the motto of SAFE in Northern Michigan. SAFE includes youth from 11 school districts within three counties: Antrim, Charlevoix and Emmet. Our youth meet monthly, usually in their county but via Zoom since March 2020. They typically come together twice a year, too, for training. Youth representatives participate in monthly adult coalition meetings. Our youth-led coalition, with support from the adults, decides on the projects, plans and implements them!

Each year, high school students from 11 schools participate in a competition to distribute and talk about youth drug use and the negative implications it could have on each others lives. The student and school who completes the most SAFE activities wins a prize! Students register with SAFE in Northern Michigan at beginning in January. The competition starts in February and ends June. A full list of OUR IMPACT ACTIVITIES can be found at in this brochure. Each activities completed is entered by the student on our OUR IMPACT MAP.

The OT communications team developed outreach materials, including brochures, social media photos, videos, and gifs. Using the OT Network we created a space and embedded online course on how to manage the database.  The logo and branding guidelines influenced the UX of the platform and scoring dashboard. Users can easily click and add when an activity has occurred and enter an address. User information is reviewed by the program coordinator and used to inform all evaluations and remove the need for paper surveys.  

OUR IMPACT Map ( was designed and developed by Dr. Charla M. Burnett through an open source basemap developed by LeafLet and powered by Open Street Map. It builds on Open Source instructional guide created by Dr. Jack Dougherty and Ilya Ilyankou. These applications are open source and free to use making it an essential tool for non-profits who implement activities across a wide geographic area. The basemap has been paired with Google Suite to make it accessible to non-technical experts. The data collected across all projects, including the OUR IMPACT program, media and outreach, parent led activities, and community health indicators. The data is publicly available on the OUR IMPACT dashboard. The OUR IMPACT program coordinator is responsible for managing the data and resetting the map before each competition period.

The OUR IMPACT Dashboard includes invaluable information about our current activities, the outcome of each activity, and the changes to community health indicators over time. The goal of collecting activity dashboard and comparing it to community health indicators is to measure the success and impact of SAFE in Northern Michigan’s programming, provide instant access to our donors and stakeholders, and engage participating youth in a way that harnesses 21st century technology.

SAFE in Northern Michigan measures outcomes across 16 youth led activities and 20 indicators. This criteria measures the actual achievements against set goals and program aims. For a complete list of 2021 indicators, please visit

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