~A timeline of Somerset County Drug-Free Communities Coalition
1999 – A group of concerned parents and citizens formed “The Club Down Under”, a teen center, to provide youth with healthy, drug free activities. This organization would eventually become the Boys and Girls Club of Somerset County.
2000 – Somerset County’s Board of Family Services applied for and received a federal five year Drug-Free Communities Grant of $500,000 for The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
2000-2002 – Early activities included building coalition membership, working with Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) chapters and providing educational programing in the school districts, sponsoring National Night Out and the already established Red Ribbon Week. The first “Every 30 Minutes” program was held at Rockwood High School.
2002- All eleven county school districts participated in the Communities That Care Youth Survey, giving us the first clear picture of youth substance abuse in the community.
2003 –Area SADD chapters were supported to take trips to Harrisburg to participate in statewide conferences and “meet your legislator” events. Since then, hundreds of students have had the ability to participate.
2004 – The Somerset Boys and Girls Club received its National Charter. The first Youth Leadership Camp was held by the Boys and Girls Club
2005 – The county applied for and received a second round of federal Drug-Free Communities in the amount of $500,000. Federal funding for coalition operations expired, but through the works of committed individuals and organizations, community services will continue.
2006 – The first Project Sticker Shock program was held, taking students to various beer distributors so they could put stickers on cases of beer reminding people that drinking under the age of 21 is illegal.
2007 – The” Parents Who Host Lose the Most” campaign began, providing parents with information regarding the consequences of serving underage drinkers
2009 – At least one “Evidence Based” prevention program was being held in all eleven school districts. Evidence based programs are those proven by data to be effective in reducing substance abuse. Over 3,000 red tulips bulbs were planted across the county by SADD members to help the National Plant the Promise Week during the month of October.
2010 – A sustainability plan was adopted to ensure the work of the coalition could continue after grant funding ended. The first Mary Ann Bowmen Award was rewarded during the Red Ribbon Rally at the Somerset County Courthouse
2011 – Drug-Free Communities partners with the DEA and other community partners to host a prescription take back program.
2012 – United Way of the Laurel Highlands awareds a grant to fund the nations top ranked evidence-based prevention program, Botvin Lifeskills serving 771 students.
2013 – Drug-Free Communities started provided scholarship opportunities for County youth to attend summer camps of their choice.
2014 – SADD students from Somerset County Technology Center along with the whole technology body, designed and dedicated a DUI Victims Memorial Garden to pay tribute to lives needlessly lost to impaired driving. Somerst County Technology SADD chapter and advisor receive state awards and recognition. Drug-Free Communities created the SCORE program to promote health and wellness and to strengthen family and community bonds.
2015- Pennsylvania Secretary of Drug and Alcohol Programs, Gary Tennis, came to Somerset County for a meet and greet event. The Botvin Lifeskills program reached 2, 268 county students. The University of Colorado Grant was awared and received to continue to provide Botvin Lifeskills for an additional three years.