During the 2011-2012 academic year, an Advisory Group began looking at high-risk behaviors among elementary and middle school students. This group was led by the coalition’s current co-chair, Dr. Shirley Vickery, to ensure structures were put into place to address challenging issues using innovative methods including recruiting bilingual mental health and prevention professionals for individual work and community outreach. Richland Two Superintendent, Dr. Debbie Hamm, always recognized the importance of the connection between alcohol and drug use and academic outcomes. She organized several committees of significant concern including engaging and educating military students, working with the challenges of transient populations, and stressing the need for prevention efforts to reduce alcohol use among students. In 2014, Richland Two applied for a Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program Grant that provides funding to community-based coalitions that organize to prevent youth substance use.
Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program Grant
In October 2014, Richland School District Two was the only district in the state of South Carolina to receive a five-year DFC Grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). The purposes of this grant are to (1) support the efforts of community coalitions working to prevent and reduce substance use among youth and (2) reduce substance use among youth and over time reduce substance abuse among adults. The Project CARE Coalition is a part of the school district’s Office of Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion.
The Project CARE Coalition seeks to create conditions that empower families, schools, and communities to reduce substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors.
Dr. Helen Nelson Grant, Co-Chair, Chief Diversity and Multicultural Inclusion Officer
Dr. Shirley Vickery, Co-Chair, Executive Director of Instructional Support Services
Javana D. Lovett, MPA, Project Director