Chester Drug Free Communities Receives Grants to Prevent Youth Substance Abuse
Chester Drug Free Communities, a program affiliated with the Crozer Wellness Center and Crozer-Chester Medical Center, recently received two grants aimed at preventing youth substance abuse. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board awarded $15,000 to the program as part of the Commonwealth’s Alcohol Education Grant program. The Delaware County Office of Behavioral Health awarded $5,000 to the program from the Committee on Prevention Education fund.
The Chester Drug Free Communities is a coalition of youth and adults who work to establish and strengthen collaboration among the Chester community, public and private nonprofit agencies, and local government to support efforts to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth. The program also aims to reduce substance abuse among youth and, over time, among adults by addressing the factors in the Chester community that increase risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize its risk. Primary funding for Drug Free Communities comes from the federal office of Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services (SAMHSA).
With these new resources, Chester Drug Free Communities will expand its social media efforts by having its communications committee (led by Chester youth and supported by adults) design billboards and create public service announcements for regional radio stations. The funding will also be used to support the administration of the PA Youth Survey to students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 in Chester public and charter schools. Data from the survey provides current information on risk and protective factors facing young people, which can be used by youth-serving organizations to plan programs that best meet the needs and strengths of Chester youth.
Since launching in the spring of 2009, Chester Drug Free Communities has had a range of successes, including partnering with more than 60 Chester residents and representatives of community groups; influencing local policies to reduce youth access to alcohol; and increasing coordination of prevention efforts between youth service providers.
The program is part of the Crozer Wellness Center, which provides a wide range of in-class and out-of-school programs aimed at building the current and potential strengths of youth as a way to decrease participation in health-compromising behavior. The Crozer Wellness Center also provides leadership, advocacy and capacity-building on youth development issues via the Chester Youth Collaborative, a city-wide initiative led and coordinated by the Center.
For more information about the Crozer Wellness Center or Chester Drug Free Communities, call (610) 497-7422.