ALHS Grad Says Networking will Help with Area's Heroin, Communication Problems
Jim Coyne founds ASSISTS to tap into area's resources to find local solutions to local problems.
An Avon Lake High School graduate is hoping to bring people offline and face to face in the hopes of a more personal way of networking and address several prominent problems facing the community.
Jim Coyne, a 2006 graduate of Avon Lake High School said he looked around Avon Lake and saw a golden opportunity to connect the wealth of experience.
“My big goal right now is not to step on any toes,” Coyne, who earned a journalism degree from Ohio State University and a graduate degree in research analysis from from Mercyhurst College.
He’s hoping to link community members with each other and form a mentoring program through “ASSIST,” an organization he has just formed.
“We need to get away from Facebook and Twitter and more face to face,” he said.
He had a life changing experience in 2010 volunteering as a ranger at Yellowstone National Park where in addition to “helping bears cross the road,” he attended to wildfires. The experience led him to author a book, Wild Harmony, which was based on experiences.
Now he’s looking to connect those who live and work in Avon Lake and surrounding communities, to address what he sees as three major problems in the city.
Heroin prevalence, joblessness and lack of communication
“After meeting with dozens of Avon Lakers and consulting with professionals, it is my analytic conclusion that the three major problems in Avon Lake and the surrounding communities are heroin prevalence, joblessness (hopelessness), and lack of communication,” Coyne said. “The public needs to know that there are strong efforts at addressing each other those issues, but we need to tackle the root of the problem, which is lack of communication. Children are living through smart phones and do not know how to ask for help even if they know that they have a problem. We need the public to acknowledge this problem before we move forward with a solution.”
He sees face-to-face networking as lacking in Avon Lake and is hoping to rectify that to assist in solving problems.
Coyne has set up a website, assistavonlake.com and has organized a meeting for March 28 for those interested in helping with the three initial areas he wants addressed.
“ASSIST's idea is to bring all resources together in a common effort,” Coyne said. “We seek to advance everyone's interests for the well being of our community. We need people to join in as tutors, mentors, volunteer coaches, and countless other positions that need to be filled as soon as possible. Avon Lake High School has cut positions that used to teach students how to balance a checkbook. Families are incredibly busy these days with an economy that provides jobs that pay too little and force us to work indefinitely.”
Coyne said an “all front” approach, from high school to recreation to retirement communities’ involvement is important.
“We believe that the more we help each other out right now, the greater ability we will have to be a standard-bearer to the rest of the region on how a community comes together,” he said, saying locals solutions are needed for local problems. “We want families to be provided with all the resources necessary to help them live happy and productive lives. We want individuals to be full of hope and acknowledge that Avon Lake is our home and must be treated with respect.”
The first public meeting of ASSIST is scheduled for Thursday, March 28 at the Avon Lake Public Library from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the Friends Room - front of library. This informational session is open to anyone looking to learn more about ASSIST. Coyne said sign up sheets for those interested in volunteering or helping out in some way will be available. Interested individuals can stop by for just a few minutes, or to stay and network with others.
ASSIST will be at Buffalo Wild Wings on Wednesday, March 27 for an all day fundraiser for Abie Loebich, who was in a dirtbike accident in Montana a few weeks ago.
ASSIST did not plan the event, but Coyne said his group will be there for support and will have more information and sign ups for those who wish to join.
“This will be the first of many projects in which we help some people out,” he said.