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Davis Journal

Coalition works to prevent underage substance abuse

Jul 28, 2023 10:33AM ● By Becky Ginos
Kids play basketball at West Bountiful Park. Posters with messages on preventing underage drinking hang on the fences. Photo by Roger V. Tuttle

Kids play basketball at West Bountiful Park. Posters with messages on preventing underage drinking hang on the fences. Photo by Roger V. Tuttle

BOUNTIFUL—South Davis Communities that Care (CTC), an evidence-based program that looks at risk factors for youth substance abuse in the community, was awarded with the E-Cigarette, Marijuana, & Other Drug Prevention Grant through the Davis County Health Department last week. The $55,755 grant starts in July through the next three years ending July 30, 2026.

“It’s specifically for preventing underage substance abuse,” said Danielle Kaiser, program and data manager for CTC. “We look at the SHARP (Student Health and Risk Prevention) survey data and make the application for why we need the funding and the risk and protective factors to decrease substance abuse.”

The CTC determines who responds to the activities and the outcomes short or long-term, she said. “We evaluate whether they’re even useful and helpful to the community.” 

To receive the grant, they have to show budget justification for the funding, Kaiser said. “It had to go through the Davis County Commission to decide who gets funded.”

The grant will cover CTC processes like the workshops coalition members go to, printing needs, etc.,” said Kaiser. “It will also go to our Strengthening Families program to cover the cost of the instructor, childcare salaries, dinners and supply costs.”

The money will also go to fund similar things for their Circle of Security classes, she said. “It’s mainly supplementing other funds. It’s not covering everything.”

Strengthening Families is a seven week course for families with kids ages 10-14, said Kaiser. “The first hour is a separate lesson for parents and the kids. The second hour they have an activity together to learn how to increase and strengthen family connection and how youth can manage stress and peer pressure.”

CTC has shown that this decreases substance abuse, she said. “Specifically alcohol. It ties in with what a parent should do.”

In partnership with the Davis School District, Kaiser said they rent out certain schools to hold the classes. “We also do them at city halls or other places that are big enough to host us.” 

Kaiser said to get the word out about the classes, CTC posts on Peach Jar. “We also rely on our coalition members and county partners to spread the word. Some people just find it.”

The goal is to have 12 families register, she said. “It depends on how many youth are within the family and how many kids are under 10 that will need childcare help and if we have the capacity to provide childcare.”

There are two rounds of classes, said Kaiser. “One in September and one in October, then January and March. There are at least four classes that are held throughout the county. We also offer it in Spanish. There’s one in the fall and one in the spring right now.”

The other program is Circle of Security, she said. “It’s an eight week course for parents or caregivers of kids of any age and we provide childcare for kids under 10. It’s for strengthening and supporting child/parent attachment. You first look internally at your own triggers and how you handle those and then help your child navigate their problems.”

Classes are held in the fall and spring like the other program, said Kaiser. “We have a wide variety of instructors. They have to have a bachelor’s degree but they don’t have to have a teaching background, they just have to have an interest in what we’re doing.”

The CTC has other programs such as Big Brother Big Sister, she said.”We also have Learning to Breathe. We look in the community to evaluate how we’re doing and see if we need to adjust our priorities.”

The goal is to look at community perceptions and attitudes, said Kaiser. “We want to create a safer community that can be more engaged.”