The move, which allows the Sheriff’s Office to become the fiscal agent, allows the coalition to leave the influence of the Troy School District.
The move will not cost the county any money, Unite for Youth Coalition Coordinator Maggie Anderson told commissioners. Anderson and Project Director Vel Shaver have secured a five-year, $125,000 annual grant to pay for the program through the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. They are the coalition’s only paid employees.
“We have a grant that pays for our program,” Anderson assured commissioners.
Anderson said the move will enable the coalition to broaden its reaches with the full benefits of the Sheriff’s Office.
“There is so much more we can do with this,” Anderson said. “By collaboration with the Sheriff’s Office we can reach more sectors of our community. There is already long-standing support for teaching young people the wrongs of underage drinking. It’s not only not safe for young people and not healthy, it’s against the law. We feel like we can reach more.”
Sheriff Roby Bowe said he sees no drawback to the affiliation.
“I’m just super excited about this whole Unite for Youth Coalition,” Bowe said. “We’re excited about their message, and it’s consistent with what we’re doing, and I’m not just talking about the legal aspect. This is a great compassionate group. When people come to me asking for our support, I try to think of the pros and cons of this, and I can only see pluses for all of Lincoln County.”
The Sheriff’s Office will pick up an additional 2 percent annually from the coalition for being its fiscal agent, which amounts $2,500 annually or $12,500 for the term of the five-year grant.
“It’s a renewable grant,” Anderson said. “We can apply for another five-year grant beyond the current grant.”
Anderson said in addition to anti-drinking and anti-drug campaigns in schools, the coalition has written grants for the Sheriff’s Office to secure funding for the recent alcohol checks at county taverns. The group also has been working with schools to further the message of an anti-drinking message in the Life of an Athlete campaigns at the schools, bringing in guest speakers to discuss the dangers of underage drinking.
The Unite for Youth Coalition will work with all schools in Lincoln County to address the problems with substance abuse.
“It’s important that we get that message to the schools, but we also need to get that message to parents in the home,” Anderson said.
Commissioners voted unanimously to support the fiscal-agent transfer.
“It’s a good fit for the Sheriff’s Office and Lincoln County,” Bowe said. “It’s a consistent message.”