Posted on September 19, 2016
Money earmarked to help coalition members work to end youth substance abuse
By Adam Littman, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: September 19, 2016, 6:01 AM
The Unite Washougal Community Coalition has secured a $625,000 grant through the White House’s Drug Free Communities Support Program.
The coalition is made up of residents and organizations in Washougal looking to support youth, encourage families, and guide healthy choices. The grant will go through the Washougal School District, a member of the coalition, which will work with other members to set up programs in hope of ending youth substance abuse.
“The No. 1 goal of the grant is community collaboration and community collectiveness,” said Margaret McCarthy, coalition coordinator. “Communities that are connected tend to be healthier places to live.”
The grant is spread out over five years, $125,000 a year. That total is matched by the coalition, in members’ donations of personal services and resources.
“The first year of the grant is really about building capacity in our coalition, so training for people in our community to learn more about environmental strategies for community change, how to support youths, substance abuse risk and protective factors,” McCarthy said.
Money from the grant can also go toward a youth leadership conference, and the coalition can re-apply for the grant in five years.
McCarthy said she’s hopeful the grant money will bring in more youth development programs, education and chances for the coalition to partner with other agencies to bring more resources to Washougal.
Washougal schools Superintendent Mike Stromme said in a release from the district that many people in the community helped work on the grant proposal, looking at what past Drug-Free Communities grant winners did to learn how to bring that money to Washougal.
“Our goal is to make Washougal a safe and healthy place for our youth,” Heather Jordan, a member of the Washougal grant writing committee, said in the same release. “Prevention is a powerful tool to counteract youth substance abuse in our community, and we will use this funding to help youth in Washougal make healthy choices.”
The National Drug Control Policy awarded 698 grants, totaling $85.9 million, to support established community-based youth substance use prevention coalitions.