COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) — Four local agencies were among 22 statewide to receive a share of $1.5 million to help strengthen school-based alcohol and other drug prevention programming for at-risk youth.
Grants were given to agencies in 19 counties, with Mahoning County receiving three grants and Columbiana receiving one grant. Ohio First Lady Karen Kasich said the “Building Youth Resiliency” grants are an important part of the recently launched Start Talking! youth drug prevention initiative.
In Mahoning County, the grantees include:
- Austintown Local School District, $27,584. This grant award will provide prevention programming that is a multi-faceted approach that incorporates evidence-based curriculums throughout the school year. Evidence-based programs that will be utilized for student and parent education include: Too Good for Drugs, Too Good for Violence, Project ALERT and Strengthening Families. Additionally, in conjunction with Meridian Community Care, a pilot program will be established with the county court system, juvenile justice center and children services board to establish a referral process that will assist the project in targeted implementation of drug/mental health education. Project partners are Meridian Community Care, Mahoning County Court System, Mahoning County Juvenile Justice Enter, and Mahoning County Children Services Board. Approximately 1,600 students will be served by this grant.
- Meridian Community Care, $35,270. Meridian Community Care will partner with two school districts, Struthers and Girard, to implement a project in grades 5‐9 that includes materials from the evidence‐based prevention curriculums Too Good for Drugs, Too Good for Violence, Project ALERT and Strengthening Families. The delivery of these materials will be executed through the Peer Prevention and Student Leadership Program (PANDA) Program. The students will participate in workshops, groups, and activities that focus on leadership, communication, abstinence, and positive peer support. Project partners are the Struthers and Girard school districts, and approximately 435 students will be served by this grant.
- Youngstown Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program, $175,210. The Youngstown UMADAOP Youth Mentoring Initiative (YMI) prevention project will implement the LifeSkills Training, Second Step and Parents: You Matter evidence‐based prevention programs. The 40 developmental assets for adolescents will serve as the framework for this project. The project will provide prevention services to students and their families in grades 5 through 8 in the Youngstown School District. Other partnerships include Flying HIGH, which will provide Career Exploration services for the project; the local drug‐free coalition, which will provide training and technical assistance to parents, school staff and other community members to enable sustainability of prevention efforts; and Neil Kennedy Recovery Center, which will assist with the implementation of Parents360Rx. Approximately 100 students will be served by the grant.
The Family Recovery Center of Columbiana County received $51,210 to serve approximately 1,000 students.Family Recovery Center plans to implement the LifeSkills Curriculum, an evidence‐based program to 5th and 6th graders in the five schools in Columbiana County. Partners include Crestview Middle School, East Palestine Middle School, East Liverpool Westgate Middle School, Lisbon School District and Southern Local School District, ADAPT Coalition, Coordinated Action for School Health (CASH) Coalition, Ohio State Highway Patrol, East Liverpool City Hospital, Salem Regional Medical Center and Columbiana County Commissioners.
“We applaud these communities for their commitment and collaborative approach to building youth resiliency-with the goal of reducing substance use and abuse and encouraging a healthy start for the young people of Ohio,” Mrs. Kasich said. “Nurturing resilience and encouraging good behavioral health is essential to enhancing a young person’s ability to resist substance use, abuse and addiction.”
Building Youth Resiliency, a partnership between the Office of the First Lady, the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives and the Departments of Aging, Job and Family Services, and Mental Health and Addiction Services, targets at-risk students in grades 5-9. The resulting resiliency programming is supported by federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars.
Grantees were selected on a competitive basis from a pool of 38 proposals. To be eligible, applicants were required to partner with schools where 40 percent or greater of the student population qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. Awardees are required to implement programs by September.