COLUMBUS—Prevention Action Alliance awarded $114,000 in grants to improve youth-led prevention development throughout the state of Ohio during the 2018 fiscal year with support from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Ohio University.
“Every day our youth are bombarded with messages that portray teens like them as people who misuse drugs and engage in other risky behavior,” said Marcie Seidel, Executive Director of Prevention Action Alliance. “Those messages, though false, set expectations for our youth that make drug use seem normal.”
“These grants will provide ongoing development opportunities in every region of Ohio and give a dozen organizations year-round support to implement plans for empowering youth to prevent substance misuse among their peers,” said Harim C. Ellis, Director of Youth-Led Programs at Prevention Action Alliance.
“Just last week I was visiting a rural area of Ohio and a high school student shared that more pro-social activities should be available after school to give kids healthy choices. She told me that this decreases the risk of substance use among young people,” said Tracy Plouck, Director of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, which funded the project. “The grants being made available will support the development of activities that students such as this young woman wants to see, and by engaging students directly in the planning, it will increase use of these resources once available.”
The grants will establish four regional, youth-led training academies to support the professional development and workforce capacity of youth-led prevention as well as to provide resources and networking opportunities to youth-led prevention organizations.
Those four grants of $22,500 each were awarded to
• Beth Thomas, with the Fulton County Health Department in Wauseon
• Mollie Stevens, with Impact Prevention in South Point
• Cheryl Sells, with CompDrug in Columbus
• Julianna Fellows, with Crossroads in Mentor
The grants also provide $2,000 grants to 12 organizations to strengthen their skills in engaging with youth, positive youth development, and youth empowerment. The grantee organizations will develop evidence-based plans for empowering and engaging with youth to prevent substance misuse. To assist in those plans, the grants provide both technical assistance and professional development.
“By the end of the grant cycle, 12 more organizations from throughout Ohio will have established youth-led prevention programs in their communities,” said Harim. “And, dozens of other organizations already engaging in youth-led prevention will have received support and professional development. This will create a cycle of mentorship within youth-led prevention throughout Ohio, build upon the successes of existing youth-led partnerships and begin the process of forging new partnerships.”
The 12 organizations that received $2,000 grants are:
• Clermont Recovery Center, of Batavia
• Community Action Commission of Fayette County, of Washington Court House
• Defiance County Drug Free Coalition, of Defiance
• Goodwill Easter Seals Miami Valley, of Dayton
• Live It Like You Mean It, of Norwood
• Lorain City Schools, of Lorain
• Marion-Crawford Prevention Programs, of Marion
• New Directions, The Domestic Abuse Shelter and Rape Crisis Center of Knox County, of Mount Vernon
• Rape Crisis Center, of Akron
• Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery, of Canton
• Women Helping Women, of Cincinnati
• Youth at the Center, of Cincinnati
Prevention Action Alliance is a 510(c)3 nonprofit based in Columbus, Ohio dedicated to leading healthy communities in the prevention of substance misuse and the promotion of mental health wellness. The Ohio Youth-Led Prevention Network, a program of Prevention Action Alliance, supports and connects adults and youth to build and expand youth-led prevention programs. To learn more, visit www.preventionactionalliance.org.