Summit Prevention Alliance’s federal funding: Where the money’s being spent
Summit Daily News
Summit County’s Drug Free Community Coalition had a special visitor at its Tuesday meeting: a representative from its federal funder, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which recently granted the nonprofit $600,000 to be spread out over five years.
Gilbert Rose, public health advisor for the HHS Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, stopped by to see what the coalition – a community-based group hosted by the Summit Prevention Alliance – is doing for the community. SPA acts as the coalition’s fiscal agent.
“I already know you’re a great coalition, I’ve heard about what you’re doing,” Rose said, adding that he wants to know what the group’s plans are for the future, and how he can help it achieve goals.
“I want to see the good, the bad and the ugly,” he told attendees of the community.
Among the group efforts presented to Rose, all of which are at least partially funded by SPA: the development of a new Minor in Possession program, led by members Derek Woodman of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Kathy Davis of Colorado West Mental Health. Instead of ticketing a minor found in possession of drugs or alcohol, the group hopes to move towards a therapeutic approach. Also on Woodman’s plate: compliance checks, which help identify establishments selling alcohol to youth. They used to be a regular occurrence in Summit County, but inadequate funding has shelved the practice for the past three years. And, it’s hard to find young adults from outside the county – to avoid run-ins with people they know – who are willing to help. Woodman said he’d like to start compliance checks up again, starting with packaged liquor and possibly moving to tobacco.
Other initiatives presented to Rose: SPA’s involvement in helping the Family and Intercultural Resource Center create parenting classes, the offering of TIPS, or server alcohol training classes and the reconnecting youth program in the schools, which provides drug, aggression and drop-out prevention.
Carli Seeba, community prevention coordinator for SPA, spoke about trying to identify policy solutions for increased tobacco usage among Summit’s teens.
Rose also inquired about challenges Summit County faces in its efforts to reduce substance abuse. The answers from coalition members: the “party culture” of resort communities, a large transient population – some of whom become role models for Summit’s youth – and the high cost of living. Also, with 80 percent of Summit’s families having both parents working outside of the home, many kids are left alone and are at higher risk for questionable behavior, coalition member and Breckenridge police chief Rick Holman said.
This is the second round of grant funding SPA received from HHS. The first, $500,000, was doled out to the nonprofit from 2003 to 2008. After that, SPA went back into the “competitive cycle,” Kari Read, alliance executive director said. The group received its first phase of the current funding in Oct. 2010.
The group recently gave Denver-based social science research firm, Omni Institute, any hard community data it has – including that from the recently organized Healthy Kids Colorado Survey – to access initiatives SPA should focus on.
They will tell us where the money would best be spent, Read said.
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