Tenth anniversary spotlights drug abuse prevention | RecordCourier.com

Tenth anniversary spotlights drug abuse prevention

by Laura Brunzlick, Staff Writer

As the Partnership of Community Resources celebrates its 10th year in Douglas County, plans are under way for a drug-free family night at a Gardnerville bowling alley.

“Silver Strike Lanes agreed to close the bar for the night, so it’s a big thing,” said Cheryl Bricker, PCR executive director.

Bricker said a date for the bowling night has not been set.

The non-profit group works with organizations such as the Family Support Council of Douglas County, and writes grants and distributes funds it raises to groups that work to prevent teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse and to reduce the number of school dropouts.

“Our mission is to fill the gaps for unmet needs,” Bricker said.

The PCR also refers at-risk teens to local agencies that can help them.

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In the last few years, PCR has focused its efforts on reducing the problem of substance abuse.

“In Douglas County, we don’t have nearly the problem (with drug abuse) as other communities,” Bricker said.

The group is working to keep it that way by holding fund-raisers such as its 3rd annual golf tournament Oct. 13 at Sierra Nevada Golf Ranch and through grants it receives.

In 2000, PCR received a $100,000 federal drug-free community grant from the office of juvenile justice. The grant is designed to mobilize communities by helping them assess the severity of drug abuse in their area and to help them prevent it from increasing.

Bricker said the grant allowed PCR to hire a drug abuse prevention coordinator who talks to groups of students in middle schools about the dangers of drug abuse.

Each year since 1995, PCR has identified risk factors for drug use among youths in order to identify resources it can use to prevent juvenile drug abuse and to create new resources. The results are part of a Community Prevention Plan the group creates.

The risk factors identified this year include the availability of both illegal and legal drugs to juveniles. Availability of tobacco is also a risk factor. Family management, which is the opportunity parents have to receive help or education, is another risk factor identified by the PCR.

Once a risk factor is identified, current resources are presented as ways of dealing with the increased risk and other possible solutions are offered.

In the case of availability of drugs, a group has been formed in collaboration with the PCR known as Stand Tall Don’t Fall. The group is composed of students dedicated to combatting underage drinking through activities in school and in the community, and is one of several resources available to youth.

A new group, TABU, or Teens Against Tobacco Use, strives to keep juveniles from using tobacco products.

Other programs supported by PCR include the Alternative Sentencing Department of East Fork Justice Court, the Douglas County School District’s Mentor Program and the Yellow Ribbon suicide prevention project.

PCR was started in 1992 in an effort to get area agencies to work together to solve common problems, Bricker said. Its genesis came at a time when school enrollment in Douglas County was skyrocketing.

The group was started by Mary Wolery, a former Douglas County School District employee, Scott Cook, a retired chief at the Douglas County Juvenile Probation Office, Karen Goode of Douglas County Social Services, and other individuals.

John Amundson, a PCR board member, said the group strives to find community needs and get a grant to fund them.

After 10 years of practice obtaining grants, PCR seems to be getting better at it.

“I think we’ve found more hits than we did initially,” Amundson said.

n Laura Brunzlick can be e-mailed at lbrunzlick@swiftnews.com