The United Way of the Wabash Valley has awarded an additional grant from its Substance Use Disorders Impact Council that is working to support substance use prevention in our community. Earlier this year, the council solicited applications from community organizations to expand prevention programs that focus on understanding the risks of substance use and/or programs that help to de-stigmatize substance use disorders through educational campaigns. From the application process, volunteers evaluated and selected 3 programs to receive a total of $101,500 over the next two years. The programs receiving funding include:
- Chances and Services for Youth – will provide Too Good for Drugs programming to 6th-9th graders in the Vigo County School Corporation to build up social and emotional competencies to reduce risk factors for substance abuse.
- Catholic Charities Ryves Youth Center – will expand the TIME for Me Mentoring Program to more children which provides substance use risk education and builds positive skills and behaviors.
- Mental Health America – will expand the Too Good for Drugs program to Sullivan County 4th and 5th-grade students and pilot a Character Strong program for 3rd graders in Sullivan Elementary that promotes positive brain health, self-worth, and positive character traits.
The United Way’s Substance Use Disorders Council focuses on well-rounded approaches to substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery solutions in support of United Way’s bold goal for the community to move 10,000 families out of financial struggles and into stability. The Council understands the importance of instilling in youth-positive social and emotional skills while educating on the risk of substance use. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 90% of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they were 18 years old. The knowledge provided from these programs will educate the children in our community on the risks associated with substance use. To measure the prevention work in our community the Council will utilize the Indiana Youth Survey yearly data that reports the mean age of first time use and monthly use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
“These proven evidence-based programs are a vital asset to our community that will reach over 5,400 children across the Wabash Valley per year,” explained Jordan Orwig, the Substance Use Disorder Resource Team Chair. “By developing crucial social and emotional skills in children, in combination with risk education of the dangers of substance use, it works to promote positive life decisions. These positive decisions can begin to turn the tide on the effects that substance use disorder is having on our entire community.”
“This grant builds upon the work already begun by the United Way’s Substance Use Disorders Impact Council. Their first two grants created Peer Recovery Specialists and provided mentoring in local county jails. Both grants addressed those who were already suffering from substance use, but this grant provides a way to create stronger youth to help prevent substance use disorder in the Wabash Valley,” explained Richard Payonk, Executive Director of the United Way of the Wabash Valley. “This Council has been hard at work this past year now investing over $250,000 into programs and initiatives for our community, in addition to executing a $200,000 planning grant that focused on substance use disorder solutions in our rural areas. This overarching approach to substance use will be beneficial to our entire community. We know that these programs will have a long-term positive impact on our community and United Way’s bold goal.”