Youth Coalition looks for fresh start

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By John Overby

The Washington County Heartland Youth Coalition met last Friday during a luncheon that was open to the public.

The WCHYC is a group that was formed in 1998 to help make the community aware of the dangers of substance abuse. Since that time, they have been putting together programs to help educate the county’s parents and youth.

In 2003, the WCHYC received the Drug-Free Communities grant that awarded them $125,000. This grant allowed the coalition to pay for, among other things, two staff members (Wilma Sorrell and Issac Frye).

However, the grant ended this past September, leaving them without the services of these two workers.

So during last week’s meeting, WCHYC Chair Sheila Hourigan and the three other members of its executive board (Vice Chair-Dana Kelty, Secretary-Cathy Carrico and Treasurer-Issac Frye) urged the approximately 36 members of the community in attendance for their help in easing this blow.

They asked the community to either think of how they themselves would be able to volunteer their time or to think of someone they know who would be willing to do so.

As Hourigan put it, “everyone has a little something they can give.”

“Basically, from this point forward, we’re trying to keep the coalition moving ahead,” Hourigan said. “We’re trying to have the community stay involved and looking for the community to step up. We need volunteers to help keep the coalition going and allow us to do what we’ve been doing the last 10 years. It’s so important because we’ve made a positive impact on this community.”

However, Hourigan and other members of the board know that finding time to volunteer can be difficult.

She noted that most of the people that were in attendance had full-time jobs, which she acknowledged made the task even harder.

“I know how difficult that can be, to have a job and find time to volunteer, too, but we all know somebody who has children who would love to be involved with a community project. Those are the type of people we need to be reaching.”

Also present during the meeting was a guest speaker, Bro. Troy Mattingly from Ways to Recovery.

He spoke to the community about what they offer by the way of a treatment facility.

Ways to Recovery has an in-house program in Jamestown, Ky., but they also offer an outpatient service in Springfield.

Hourigan believes it is important for the community to be aware that these types of services are available locally so that anyone who needs help can get it.

“Brother Mattingly gave us some new statistics and some things that parents really need to know, I think,” Hourigan said.

While their last grant may have ended, Hourigan said that one of Frye’s responsibilities as treasurer is to continue to search for new grants to help with funding.

But until that happens, Hourigan knows that the coalition’s best option in the short term is a strong volunteer base from within the community.

“We want people that can help us with a new vision for where we want to be 10 years from now,” Hourigan said. “This is like a new decade for us. We just want to be here to help educate and protect our children.

“Our main thing is to let the community know that we’re still here, we’re still moving forward.”

The coalition will have their yearly town hall meeting in April, followed by another luncheon in May.

To contact the WCHYC, call (859) 336-0140 or email them at WCHYCPREVENTION@gmail.com.