Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Coalition awards grants for youth substance abuse education, prevention


DARKE COUNTY — The Coalition for a Healthy Darke County (Coalition) celebrated its one-year anniversary as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit in January by awarding local grants for youth substance abuse education and prevention.

In 2016, the Coalition applied and received grants from the Darke County United Way and the Greenville Rotary Club. Those funds were added to Coalition dollars to offer Substance Abuse Education and Prevention grants.

“The collaboration among the Coalition, United Way and Rotary demonstrates the purpose of the Coalition, which is to understand and promote community decision making, collaboration and ownership among many different organizations to work together to resolve specific community challenges such as health and substance abuse,” said Coalition President Sharon Deschambeau.

Grants were awarded to a student group from Darke County We Are The Majority (WRTM) and Greenville Elementary School. WRTM has approximately 60 students and Kelly Harrison, Prevention Specialist, Recovery and Wellness of Midwest Ohio is the advisor.

“Recovery and Wellness sincerely appreciates the opportunity to use the allocated funds from the Coalition for a Healthy Darke County and we look forward to implementing and hosting the “We are the Majority” Winter at the Y (YMCA) Night on February 17, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.,” said Harrison. The Recovery and Wellness event sponsored evening activities will include swimming, leadership skills, team building, pizza, a bounce house, giveaways and more.

Harrison added, “The focus of this event will be to gather community youth grades K- 6 with the teen drug/alcohol prevention team to inspire young students to make positive choices and stand strong against drug/alcohol use. The goal of We are the Majority is to spread the word that statistically most students do not use drugs and alcohol and are paving the way to a brighter future! The commitment community members, agencies, and youth have displayed to tackle drug concerns by working together has been amazing and much appreciated!”

Greenville Elementary School plans to use their grant dollars to hold two student assemblies for grades K-2 and 3-4 in May 2017.

“We are so thankful to the Coalition for awarding us this grant,” said Greenville School Counselor Katy Copas.

“This grant will allow us to bring in a dynamic speaker, who not only educates students about the dangers of drugs, but also gives them strategies to deal with being offered drugs or unknown substances. Presenting this material at the elementary level will help to set students on the right path in making healthy choices in their lives.

Additionally, Greenville Police Officer/School Resource Officer Ryan Borowske is a part of the program.”

Greenville Elementary Principal Jody Harter estimates that the grant dollars will impact at least 1,000 students.

Coalition President Sharon Deschambeau recently attended a statewide meeting hosted by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine that was focused on fighting the drug epidemic in Ohio.

“The 1,600 attendees listened to Attorney General DeWine present the recommendations of the Ohio Joint Study Committee on Drug Use Prevention Education.

The group’s report offers a plan to incorporate drug education in all grade levels,” said Deschambeau.

“It was apparent from the findings of the study and discussion throughout the meeting that our communities must start the substance abuse education and prevention process early. Some Ohio communities are educating as early as pre-school.”

Deschambeau also serves as the president of the Darke County Chamber of Commerce and indicated that investing in substance abuse education and prevention for our children at an early age may benefit our businesses and communities in the long term.

“Perhaps we will see a difference in the health of our future workforce in Darke County in the next 10-12 years by starting substance abuse education and prevention now,” she said.

Plans are in process for the Coalition to host a Community Conversation on Youth Substance Abuse Education and Prevention in May 2017.

For more information or to join the Coalition for a Healthy Darke County visit www.coalitiondarkecounty.com

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