Science of the Positive

In the simplest terms, Science of the Positive is about studying, measuring and growing the positive in ourselves and our communities. There are countless prevention efforts that use scare tactics to change behaviors - think the early days of tobacco prevention - but our approach is about promoting what we want - health! 

The three pillars of the Science of the Positive are: 

Spirit Action Science


Spirit - By choosing a positive and hopeful spirit to conduct prevention work in our community, we honor all who are involved. We infuse hope for our shared future by promoting the goodness that already exists in our communities and tell our story by highlighting the strengths of the children, youth and families that live and work in La Plata County.

Science - To clarify what we want to achieve with coalition efforts, we study our community using a variety of data collection methods and decide how we will evaluate if we are making progress on our goals. We note the strengths and we note our concerns. We amplify the positive that is already taking place and consider what best practice methods or strategies could address our concerns. Without science, we operate on hunches and can stay stuck in outmoded thinking and ineffective action.

Action - To plan how we will address change and perhaps even transformation in our community we consult with our diverse partners to create annual and long-term action plans. We  involve numerous sectors of our community that create Collective Impact to address our hopes and concerns. CHC has a twenty-three year history of showing substantive impact on growing assets for youth and decreasing substance use.

View this short video from a Science of the Positive Training including Head Researcher Jeff Linkenbach:


Science of the Positive is much bigger than developing media campaigns. In fact, this approach guides all of our work. CHC members wrote these seven Positive Community Norms Bold Statements to define the spirit in which our Coalition does its work to meet our mission and vision:

Principle # 1 Be Positive - We embrace the strengths and beauty of our community.

Principle # 2 Be Present - We listen to hear.

Principle # 3 Be Perceptive - We see our community with an open heart and mind.

Principle # 4 Be Purposeful - We come together for youth and families.

Principle # 5 Be Perfected  - We strive to grow and improve ourselves and our community.

Principle # 6 Be Proactive - We work with our community to shape a shared future.

Principle # 7 Be Passionate - We light the signal fires for transformation in La Plata County.