Unite! Washougal Community CoalitionUNITE! Washougal Community Coalition has been award a $625,000 Drug-Free Communities (DFC) grant to involve and engage their local community to prevent substance use among youth.

Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), announced last week all 698 grants, totaling $85.9 million, for Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Programs across the country, including Washougal. Grants awarded through the DFC Support Program are intended to support established community-based youth substance use prevention coalitions capable of effecting community level change.

“Our goal is to make Washougal a safe and healthy place for our youth,” said Heather Jordan, member of the Washougal grant writing committee. “Prevention is a powerful tool to counteract youth substance abuse in our community, and we will use this funding to help youth in Washougal make healthy choices.”

The local grant will be administrated by Washougal School District. The overall grant program is administered by The Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP).

“A primary goal of the grant is to reduce substance use among youth,” said Mike Stromme, Ed.D. Washougal School District Superintendent. Over time this work is intended to reduce substance abuse among adults by addressing the factors in a community that increase the risk of substance abuse and promoting the factors that minimize the risk of substance abuse.

“Another important goal is to establish and strengthen collaboration among communities, public and private non-profit agencies to support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth,” he added.

Stromme pointed out that it is extremely rare for an organization to receive DFC grant funding on their first request.  “This was a Herculean effort with many people in our community stepping up to help,” he said.  The group also studied the work of other local DFC grant winners and learned from their successful efforts.

UNITE! would like to thank members of the grant writing committee for their dedication of a tremendous amount of time and dedication to bring resources to our wonderful Washougal community.  Members were Dr. Mike Stromme, Dr. Patricia Boles, Les Brown, Allan Fleck, Jen Fleck, Betty Gable, Larry Mayfield, Denise Livingston, Monica Kok, Sharon Bischoff, Mona Al-Dalaan, Rhea Bohlin, Deb Drandoff, Heather Jordan, Paul Greenlee, Bridgette McCarthy, Scott Anderson, Sydney Mederos, Carson Connors, Debra Connors, Michael Stevens, Ann Stevens, Joy Lyons, Lucy Ann Kendall, Tiffany Schwieterman, and Awna Underwood.