On Oct. 30, Orcas Island became one of 150 communities awarded the Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant in 2019. The Coalition for Orcas Youth has been awarded $625,000, directed to their work over the next five years.
The Coalition for Orcas Youth is housed under the umbrella of Funhouse Commons. The Funhouse will serve as the fiscal agent for this award. The coalition is a diverse group made up of community members from law enforcement, the school district, the healthcare system, parents, local businesses, religious groups, youth-serving agencies, early education, human services, and youth. Its mission is “to cultivate connections to mobilize our community for positive change.”
The Drug-Free Communities Support Program, created by the Drug-Free Communities Act of 1997, is the Nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use. Directed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, the DFC Program provides grants to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use. Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, DFC-funded coalitions engage multiple sectors of the community and employ a variety of environmental strategies to address local substance use problems.
The grant funds are to be used for the operation costs of the coalition, creating stable funding for the position of the coalition coordinator, Alison Sanders, as well as to provide support for the campaigns and programs that fall under the coalition’s strategic plan.
COY is committed to empowering youth with skills and resources to become compassionate, healthy adults. COY’s goal is to prevent problems before they start by focusing upstream. Currently, their main focus is to reduce youth substance use, anxiety and depression and to change community norms around substance use.
“This is an ongoing process, one that will take the work of an entire community, and we are excited to have secure funding for the next five years,” said Trillium Swanson the coalition’s project manager.
“We are very lucky to have been awarded this funding. Many prevention coalitions don’t know where they will find funding from year to year,” said Alison Sanders, the coalition coordinator. There is an end to the DFC funding. Communities are no longer eligible for funding after ten years, but for now, the Coalition for Orcas Youth is on firm financial ground. They are ready and excited to utilize the resources of the Drug-Free Communities grant to create positive change in our community.
For more information about the Coalition for Orcas Youth and how you can get involved, contact Alison Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org.