CHICAGO HEIGHTS | A Chicago Heights wellness coalition will receive a $125,000 federal grant to involve the local community in preventing substance abuse among youth, according to a news release.
Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, announced $19.8 million in new Drug-Free Communities support program grants to 147 communities and 19 new mentoring grants across the country. The awards are in addition to the $59.4 million in continuation grants simultaneously released to 473 currently funded coalitions and four mentoring continuation coalitions.
The grant for Chicago Heights was awarded to the nonprofit organization TASC, or Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities, on behalf of the South Suburban Family Wellness Alliance, also based in Chicago Heights. The group will receive $125,000 in grant funds for the first year of an anticipated five-year program to support the alliance's work.
The alliance was established in 2009 as a substance abuse prevention and behavioral and public health promotion coalition, comprising community stakeholders seeking to significantly reduce underage drinking and illegal drug use by youth. Through this new funding, the coalition will work to address increases in the use of alcohol by youth, and reduce access and availability of tobacco and alcohol products to youth in Chicago Heights.
“We are not powerless against the challenge of drug use among young people here in Chicago Heights,” Mayor David Gonzalez said.
“Research shows that prevention is the most effective tool we have to reduce the negative consequences associated with drug use among young people. This new funding will allow South Suburban Family Wellness Alliance to help place more young people on the path toward success and enable them to live healthier and safer lives.”
Nationally, the Drug-Free Communities program provides grants of up to $625,000 over five years to community coalitions that facilitate citizen participation in local drug prevention efforts. Coalitions are composed of community leaders, parents, youth, teachers, religious and fraternal organizations, health care and business professionals, law enforcement, the media, and others working together at the local level.