Hoover Coalition receives grant for drug-free programs

The Hoover Coalition will soon receive a $243,000 federal grant to support drug-free programs in city schools from the Department of Education.

Hoover Coalition Coordinator Carissa Anthony said the grant will help pay for such programs as a drug and alcohol prevention curriculum in Hoover middle and high schools, a parent education program and support for a peer helping program. All programs will be in all Hoover middle and high schools, including Berry Middle School and Spain Park High School.

The grant is actually for three years, but the $243,000 is for the first year. Anthony said the Coalition would soon find out how much the grant will provide in the next two years.

In a press release, U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) said the Coalition has done positive work providing information to pre-teens and teenagers about drug and alcohol abuse.

“The Hoover Coalition and the Hoover School System are national models when it comes to educating students about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse,” he said. “Working cooperatively, they have taken a proactive approach to steering students away from drugs. They have shown that substance abuse among young people can be reduced if you provide good information and surround them with a positive environment.”

Anthony said the grant was a surprise, because the Coalition applied for the same grant last year but was denied. The Department of Education did not make the grant application available this year, but instead went back to last year’s applications and chose three programs for which to provide grants — one of which was the Hoover Coalition.

“It’s been a big surprise, a wonderful surprise,” she said.

The anti-drug and alcohol programs are essential because they help children to reach their full potential, Anthony said.

“Helping our children make good choices around drugs and alcohol is critical to their academic success, their social success, and to their health and well being,” shes aid. “We need to give our children every opportunity to develop and grow without the hindrance of drugs and alcohol.”