TOGETHER! is on a mission to advance the health and well-being of all young people.
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, communitywide 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 prevention programming efforts of our first two and a half decades have been 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/FBI, 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.
TOGETHER! was honored in 2015 as the YWCA of Olympia's Business of Achievement, and the same year Lacey South Sound Chamber named TOGETHER! their Workplace Excellence award recipient. Our agency's Executive leaders also received recognition. In 2015 then Deputy Director (now Executive Director) Meagan Darrow was named one of three 2015 Bosses of they Year by Thurston County Chamber of Commerce. More recently, Lacey South Sound Chamber named TOGETHER! Business of the Month in April 2021.
In 2019 our co-leaders Meghan Sullivan (then Executive Director, now Deputy Director) and Meagan Darrow were personally granted the Distinguished Leader Award alongside Drew Phillips of Forma and Cheryl Fambles, formerly of Pac Mountain Workforce Development, by Leadership Thurston County and the Thurston County Chamber.