Pubdate: Fri, 28 Jan 2005
Source: Huntsville Times (AL)
Copyright: 2005 The Huntsville Times
Author: Wendy Reeves


Prevention Groups Seek Community Support To Keep $350,000 In Grants

Two local nonprofit drug-abuse prevention groups are scrambling to
keep $350,000 in federal money for programs after a change in the way
federal funds are distributed. Both groups need community support.

Deborah Soule, executive director of Partnership for a Drug Free
Community, and Debi Trumbull, substance abuse prevention coordinator
for the Mental Health Center of Madison County, are working together
to help keep federal funding from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health
Services Administration (SAMSHA).

"There is no future for these programs if there is no support of the
community," Trumbull said.

For the past five years, Partnership has received $100,000 each year
for the drug-free community support program from the Office of
National Drug Control Policy. This year, that money is being
distributed by SAMSHA, which has new performance standards. The money
has paid for overhead expenses such as rent, telephone, computers and
salaries for one full-time and two part-time positions.

The federal funding for Trumbull's programs are administered through
the state, but now the state also has to answer to SAMSHA for that

That's why both groups need more community input.

Right now, Soule is trying to put together a grant-writing team and
Trumbull is looking for residents to be on committees to help achieve
new program goals.

Trumbull said her group has at least two community meetings planned.
The first one will be from noon to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 10 at the
community room of the Mental Health Center, 4040 S. Memorial Parkway.
Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Trumbull said the meeting will assess, among other factors, the
magnitude of the substance abuse problem in the county, where the
problems are greatest, where money and programs are most needed and
what programs are most effective.

Anyone interested in attending the meeting can call Trumbull at
705-6453 by Feb. 8. The second meeting date has not been set.

Soule said for Partnership to continue its grant, a new application
requires more and different types of information about programs that
make a change in local environments. She's already changing programs
to head in that direction. It's the grant writing that has her
concerned because of all the changes.

In one of the programs, for example, a group of local teens
participating in the "I Spy" program is trying to make sure local
merchants are checking IDs and not selling tobacco products to minors.
The participants don't try to buy the products, she said, they just
make observations in stores. The information will be compiled into a
report and a presentation will be made to the City Council.

Soule said she needs committee members to help develop policies that
will help make alcohol and tobacco products less available to the
area's youth.

Anyone who wants to help or would like more information can call Soule
at 539-7339.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin