Luncheon gives CHP stakeholders opportunity to collaborate

By Jessica Hardin


Members of the Coalition for Health Promotion did not gather at the Soap Gallery downtown this week to reinvent the wheel.

The coalition, which received a Drug-Free Communities grant in October 2017, aims to prevent and reduce youth substance use and abuse on the city’s South Side.

“We are trying to get people together who are already working in the community so we can talk to each other about what’s already being done,” said Takiyah Anderson, project director at Youngstown Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program (YUMADAOP).

The Drug-Free Communities Program requires that grantee coalitions have “communitywide involvement.” That stipulation was reflected in the composition of the room, which included elected officials, law enforcement, youth organizations, health groups and education leaders.

Fittingly, the grant money will fund diverse programs in the community and at local schools.

Darryl Alexander, executive director of YUMADAOP, explained the plan will monitor neighborhood stores and ensure they don’t sell alcohol and cigarettes to minors.

The grant also will fund programs that provide alternatives to drug use.

“We want to get shipping containers and convert them into viable businesses to be put on the corners of lots,” said Councilman Julius Oliver, D-1st.

“If you can capture a youth’s dream, and actually fund it and support it, that’s far greater than any substance,” he said.

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