Published: Sep 18, 2012 07:00 PM
Modified: Sep 18, 2012 10:56 AM
Durham Together for Resilient Youth has received a five-year, $625,000 federal grant that will enable the nonprofit to expand its youth program and target prescription drug abuse.
The grant, to be provided in $125,000 annual chunks, will double Durham TRY’s 2011 revenue of $66,893, according to its annual statement. In 2010, the organization posted revenue of $73,842.
Total expenses for 2011 and 2010 were $66,785 and $72,328, respectively.
Wanda Boone, co-founder and executive director of Durham TRY, said this is the 9-year-old nonprofit’s biggest single grant to date.
“We’ll be able to do the work that we need to do, just more strategically and more targeted,” Boone said. “We have only been able to focus our attention on alcohol because of funding, but now, we can look at all the other drugs, how they interact and how we can work together to prevent all of them.”
The Office of National Drug Control Policy, an executive branch agency, awarded the Drug Free Communities Support Program grant to Durham TRY. The program targets drug-use prevention at the local level.
“Every new generation of young people needs to have the ability to make healthy choices,” said ONDCP spokesman Rafael Lemaitre. “It’s parents and community leaders who do that work.”
According to the Partnership for a Healthy Durham’s 2011 report, 42.5 percent of high school students in the county had consumed alcohol on one or more days in the past month in 2009. The statewide figure was 35 percent.
An estimated 17,000 residents of Durham County need mental health treatment and 19,000 need substance-use treatment, the report said.
Most substance abuse by young people is unreported and unmeasured, making it difficult to target prevention work. Durham TRY – like other anti-drug organizations in the Triangle – has focused largely on the supply side with a grassroots, “groundswell” approach. It has worked with Partners Against Crime groups in Durham, advocated for policy at the local and state levels, implemented the Good Neighbor Stores program and educated parents on the availability of alcohol in their homes. In the Good Neighbor Stores program, owners and managers of stores that sell alcohol and tobacco pledge to keep them out of minors’ hands.
On the demand side of the equation, TRY has a youth program, Bands Against Destructive Decisions. Youth volunteers in BADD sign pledges to be drug-free and learn how the media influences drug use.
Currently, TRY has 25 adult volunteers and about 20 youth volunteers, and Boone said she wants to expand the youth involvement to 50. Young people 14 years old to college freshmen can become volunteers.
In 2013, TRY will first target District One, or Northeast Central Durham. In 2014, it will focus on District Four, near N.C. Central University, Boone said.
TRY also will make two new part-time hires, for a community outreach position and a bookkeeper.
Mindy Solie, one of TRY’s volunteers, said she was impressed with Boone’s work with the PACs.
Solie had been co-facilitator of PAC 3 for about four years. She had become more involved in public safety issues following the 2008 murder of Duke University graduate student Abhijit Mahato, who was living in Anderson Apartments, owned by Solie’s company, Trinity Properties.
“I couldn’t imagine the pain Abhijit’s mother was going through,” said Solie, a mother of three. “I thought I needed to do something.”