COLMAR MANOR – A nonprofit in Colmar Manor was recently awarded a $125,000 grant to further its work preventing substance abuse among young people in Prince George’s County.
U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, along with U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown, (who are all Democrats), announced that Access to Wholistic and Productive Living Inc. would receive the funding.
“Parents should never have to grieve the loss of a child, but for far too many families, substance misuse has made this nightmare a reality. These federal funds will help Prince George’s County engage and educate young people to help prevent these tragic losses,” Van Hollen said.
The idea of the grant, according to the three legislators, is both to set up and strengthen community collaboration to fight substance abuse by youth.
Promise Neighborhood Drug-Free Communities Coalition, which is a program at Access to Wholistic and Productive Living, is expected to use the funds to provide site-based wrap-around services aimed at changing neighborhood environments, building leaders who will help prevent drug, alcohol and marijuana use, empowering its youth council and providing for parental support.
Promise Neighborhood coalition was created five years ago and is “dedicated to creating a drug-free culture of health within our community,” according to its website.
It was established to provide leadership opportunities to young people between the ages of 12 and 18 who live or attend school throughout the county.
“Our goal is that every youth council member will be equipped to become agent of change in their homes, schools and their communities,” the organization stated.
No one at Wholistic and Productive Living responded to messages concerning the grant.
Cardin stressed the need for local programs such as these. “The opioid epidemic has hit every corner of our state and our country. Unfortunately, our children are not immune,” Cardin said.
“These federal funds will help Prince George’s County give young people the tools they need to prevent substance misuse, before it starts, setting them up for a drug-free future,” Cardin said, adding, “I’m proud to continue to support the innovative ways that our local communities are working to find comprehensive solutions to end this public health crisis.”
Brown cited the need for community-based programs to help keep young people off drugs.
“Now more than ever, strong support for youth substance abuse prevention is critical, and this federal funding will strengthen local efforts that educate, encourage, and help our young people lead drug-free lives.”
Local programs, Brown noted, “are doing life-saving work.”
At Promise Neighborhoods Drug-Free Coalition, staff works to make young people aware of problems associated with alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, and other drugs through education and interventions.
It provides programs for children, young adults, parents and community members on the importance of not getting involved in smoking, drugs and alcohol.
“It is important for us to provide opportunities for the youth as they mature, so they are able to explore life’s possibilities and their personal plan for their lives. We focus on the vital role of families, friends, media, businesses and communities as they pertain to the problem and solution,” the coalition explained.
The federal grant comes from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Drug-Free Communities Program. This program only provides funding for community organizations that involve citizen participation in drug prevention efforts.