Michael Botticelli, Acting Director of the Office National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), announced 680 Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants, totaling $84 million, to communities across the country. One of the recipients is Franklin Pierce Youth First, a responsive, compassionate, and committed school - community partnership organization that advocates for all Franklin Pierce School District’s youth and families.
The grant – which provides $125,000 each year for five years – will address marijuana and alcohol use among youth. The DFC grant dollars will be used to complement existing programs for youth by providing coordination of the Franklin Pierce Youth First coalition, youth prevention teams at the secondary schools, training for coalition members and youth, prevention campaigns targeting youth substance abuse, and community-building projects. Franklin Pierce Youth First will work with the school district and community partners to reduce marijuana and alcohol use among youth by addressing the factors that influence unhealthy decisions, changing cultural norms, and limiting access and availability.
“Our youth face an unprecedented time when local laws have changed making both alcohol and marijuana more available than in the past,” said Sarah Bridgeford, Coordinator for Franklin Pierce Youth First. “The aim of our work is to empower youth to make healthy decisions; our success will be measured in part by the reduction in the numbers of youth that report marijuana and/or alcohol use within a 30-day period, as self-reported in the biennial Healthy Youth Survey,” said Bridgeford.
“We are incredibly grateful for the presence and efforts of Franklin Pierce Youth First and the other community partners they help bring to the table,” said Dr. Frank Hewins, Superintendent of Franklin Pierce Schools. “This grant provides additional resources that enable the community to work together as we collectively attend to the needs of the ‘whole child’ and commit to reducing the barriers to a great education that are faced by many youth,” he said.
Franklin Pierce Youth First is seeking additional community partners and prospective board members to assist the organization’s efforts in improving the quality of life for the Franklin Pierce community. For more information, please contact Youth First and/or visit their website at www.fpyouthfirst.com.