• Comment

Drug free coalition receives grant

Posted: September 19, 2015 - 11:22pm

Columbia County Community Connections recently received a grant to help prevent drug and underage alcohol use.

The Columbia County Drug Free Coalition, organized through Community Connections, was awarded a $125,000 grant from the National Drug Control Policy. They are one of 697 drug-free community support programs that will receive grants totaling $86 million. The grants provide local community coalitions funding to prevent youth substance use.

“We have been talking about this grant for 10 years,” said Julie Miller, Community Connection Executive Director.

The organization applied for the grant last year, but was denied.

“I’m just grateful,” Miller said. “I have been dreaming about this day for a decade. I never really thought it was going to happen. I’m tickled.”

The coalition was established in 2008 to develop strategies to help prevent youth alcohol and substance use. It is made up of members of the community, law enforcement, county leaders and the faith community.

“It’s broader than us,” Miller said of Community Connections. “It’s the community at large, people who have a passion around making sure kids are healthy and our community is strong.”

Miller said the coalition has been working on a social host ordinance she hopes to eventually present to county officials for approval. The coalition also organizes speakers at the schools through Project Alert and the Youth Action Team, where teens influence their peers to avoid drugs and alcohol.

Plans for the grant funds are to continue to spread the message about the dangers of teen alcohol and drug use.

“It’s going to be spent on public awareness and on building the coalition,” Miller said. “A good bit of it will be spent on training people and educating the public around the issue.”

She hopes the coalition will expand to training county, community and faith leaders. Those people, through the coalition, will help determine goals and priorities and better ways to reach young people.

“The whole thing is about how to bring about community change,” Miller said.

The grant is a 5-year grant, which means Community Connections will receive $125,000 annually and can apply to extend it after the five years.

“We know change doesn’t occur in a community overnight,” Miller said. “For the next five years, we’ll be working on getting this message out and hoping to see some results.”

  • Comment

Comments (1)

CarolLily

As we could all see there has

As we could all see there has to be enough things we ought to be doing well about from what seems to be very useful enough. - Marla Ahlgrimm