LAKE PLACID — The Lake Placid/Wilmington Connecting Youth and Communities Coalition (CYC) recently received a five-year grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Drug Free Communities program.
The funding, $125,000 per year for five years, will be used to aid the organization’s mission: to reduce the availability of drugs and alcohol to youth, reduce the opportunities to drink and change the community norms that may be sending the wrong message — that underage drinking and drug use are acceptable practices.
“The federal government has really changed what they’re looking to fund,” said CYC coordinator Angel Marvin. “They’re really going after underaged drinking and drug use, the same way they went after tobacco, so we’re excited to be a part of that.”
As a match to this grant, CYC will need to secure in-kind services or other funds equaling $125,000 in the first year and increasing that to $225,000 in the fifth year.
“We’re thrilled to have this grant money, but we still have to get out and beat the bush and start raising grant money on our own terms,” Marvin said. “The goal is to look ahead to the future to make sure we are entirely sustainable.”
CYC has been involved in the communities of Lake Placid and Wilmington since 2003, partnering with local organizations which include Lake Placid Central School, The Prevention Team, the Wilmington Youth Center, the Shipman Youth Center, the Lake Placid Outing Club, Adirondack Experience and the Lake Placid Police Department.
“We’re also working with different committees at the high school to address issues brought up by the students,” Marvin said. CYC recently conducted an annual survey among high school students. “We’re just starting to sit down and talk about some of the issues that came up,” she added.
Recent CYC multi-media campaigns, under the direction of artist Naj Wikoff working with LPCS art teacher Ann Rickard, have been very popular with students: the “Love a Kid” banner project; the “I Matter” poster project; and murals at Wilmington Youth Center and Shipman Youth Center are a few. During the summer local radio and TV stations aired public service announcements created by Kim Weem’s music students and Tom Dodd’s technology class.
“We’re definitely going to work on doing more of these media projects,” Marvin said. “The old thing used to be that we need to keep kids busy, so they don’t use drugs or drink, but that didn’t seem to do it. With these projects we’re giving them something to work toward, but they’re also sending a big message to the community.”
CYC is under the direction of a new president, Mary Dietrich. Marvin said her hard work — “a lot of long hours” — and connections within the community are paying off.
In a recent press release Dietrich said she believes the coalition is well poised to make an impact with the new grant.
“We plan to use all the tools we now have at our disposal to chip away at the environmental factors that are known to put LPCS students at risk,” she said. “We want to change the community norms that encourage the use of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs by our youth.”
Marvin said the organization is stronger than ever.
“I think we’re on an upward trajectory,” she said. “We have new members, new blood, and a lot of experience. It’s all combined into a really great energy.”
For more information, contact CYC Coordinator Angel Marvin by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.connectingyouth.com.