Learn more about Brookings County becoming a Resilient Community here.

Brookings County Community Coalition and Facilitating Team

The Brookings County Mental Health Coalition was established out of a DSS opioid prevention grant in November of 2018 as a collaborative effort though Avera Behavioral Health (Nikki Eining CSW-PIP, QMHP), Brookings School District (Chad Adamson), South Dakota State University Counseling and Human Development Department (Dr. Staci Born) and Brookings Counseling Solutions (Erin Stearns CSW-PIP) and now functions as an independent coalition under an executive committee led structure. Research shows that coalitions, with the shared goal of improving the whole health of a community, create a venue for key stakeholders to work together to ensure that the full integration of substance abuse and mental health screening, prevention, and treatment services can be successful at the local level (SAMHSA-HRSA, 2013). Mental Health Coalitions are also a key requirement for larger grants specific to Substance Abuse and Mental Health funding, and stress the need for engagement from city, county and school governments. 


A subgroup of the Brookings County Mental Health Coalition particularly interested in the health of youth and families began meeting in the fall of  2018  for the purpose of bringing evidence-based training to Brookings, the first of which was a free community-wide training by James J. Conway on the Developmental Relationships Framework (DRF) that identifies 20 specific actions that make relationships powerful for young people. (Search Institute, 2017).  The county’s school districts, particularly Brookings School District, had collected longitudinal data going back to 1999 using the “Profiles of Student Life: Attitudes & Behavior” survey from Search Institute and reported out to the community, so the actionable DRF from Search Institute seemed a good prospect for establishing a common language and practice approach to building relationships with youth across contexts, especially since the research behind DRF focuses on how youth experience relationships with parents, siblings, friends, school employees and out of school program staff.


The subgroup continued to meet monthly  as “Social NETWorks” and identified the following objectives:  

  • Promote four researched-based activities/events a year that increase resiliency for youth and families. The four promoted events would encourage building  developmental relationships, protective factors, and resiliency in youth and family, must be evidence-based, and free and open to the public.
  • Increase awareness associated with existing events and available training 
  • Continue needs assessments associated with youth and family


Social NET Works presented at CPCM’s Annual Response to Child Abuse Conference in 2019, where they first learned about the Resilient Communities: South Dakota program and agreed to take on the role of Facilitating Team to implement it in Brookings County.

  • October 2021 Newsletter

  • May 2021 Newsletter

  • June 2020 Newsletter

  • December 2020 Newsletter

See who has taken the pledge in Brookings County

The Resilient Communities: Brookings County Facilitating Team members are:

  • Chad Adamson, School Counselor,  Mickelson Middle School
  • Darla Biel, Executive Director, Brookings County Youth Mentoring Program
  • Nikki Eining, Outpatient Mental Health Therapist, Avera Behavioral Health and member of the Brookings County Mental Health
  • Heidi Gullickson, Executive Director, Brookings Area United Way
  • Michelle Vande Weerd, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Continuous Improvement, Brookings School District

To learn who the ACE Interface Presenters in Brookings County are and to schedule a training, please contact Tifanie Petro, Director of Advocacy and Prevention at Children’s Home Child Advocacy Center:

[email protected]