Naperville-based 360 Youth Services and its Community Alliance for Prevention will continue to receive $125,000 a year in federal funding for its youth substance use programs.
U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, announced this week that the federal aid extension had been approved through the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Drug-Free Communities Support grant program.
Approval means the nonprofit agency, which first received the grant in 2016, will receive the annual funding for the next five years. It’s the largest funding source for Community Alliance for Prevention, 360 Youth Services Prevention Director Karen Jarczyk said.
“We were delighted to get funding for years six through 10,″ Jarczyk said.
“The Community Alliance for Prevention and 360 Youth Services do critical work in our communities combating youth substance use,” Foster said in a news release. “I’m thrilled that these organizations are getting much needed and deserved federal support to continue helping Illinois families.”
The grant money allowed 360 Youth Services to hire Matt Cassity as its Community Alliance for Prevention’s project coordinator and also covers some of the alliance’s annual operating and programming expenses.
Community Alliance is a 360 Youth Services coalition through which multiple community partners work together to lower youth substance use rates within the boundaries of Naperville School District 203 and Indian Prairie School District 204.
Cassity said they have an action plan for the coming year but had been awaiting a decision on the grant before finalizing it.
“I’m hesitant to say what we may do because things might change,” he said.
What the money will do is allow Community Alliance to better fund its evidence-based strategic approach to addressing substance use in the area, Cassity and Jarczyk said.
This includes presentations to students, parents and others on the subject, involvement in prescription drug take-back events so drugs youth might have access to are removed and public service announcement campaigns.
Cassity said they are often called upon to talk about youth substance abuse at events organized by churches and other groups, some of which are designed to educate parents on how to recognize abuse signs and how to deal with the situation if they are.
“We have a really strong team where people are really concerned about youth and want to be proactive and interested in making a difference before problems are visible,” Jarczyk said.
Drug-Free Communities grants are awarded to organizations dedicated to reducing youth substance use and, in the long term, heading off adult substance abuse.