Cassville has been selected to serve as a pilot community for a grant program that could bring $500,000 into the area to fight substance abuse.
The Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) State Incentive Grant was applied for by the Cassville Community 2000 organization, and on Oct. 3, the coalition was notified that it had been chosen as one of 18 communities across the state to receive the grant funding.
According to Kati Rose, who is serving as the grant's project director, Community 2000 has six months to meet the objectives established by the state before complete funding is disbursed.
Some of these objectives include:
Assessment of community needs, resources and readiness to implement the prevention frame-work.
Creation of a strategic prevention plan and imple-mentation of that plan.
Evaluation of the program's effectiveness and its sustainability.
The City of Cassville has agreed to serve as the coalition's fiscal agent.
"This means the city will cover the costs up front and get reimbursement from the state," said Rose. "Reimbursement requests to the state will be requested on a monthly basis to ensure the city will not be overburdened by this grant."
Community 2000 has defined its target area for grant purposes as the entire Cassville R-IV School District and the entire Shell Knob School District.
The SPF grant originated from the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In 2004, SAMHSA officials announced that $45 million would be distributed to pilot states. Missouri is among the second group of selected states. At the state level, the grant is administered through the Missouri Department of Mental Health.
Rose said she is excited about the grant and potential prevention programs it could fund.
"The project will be extremely challenging but very worthwhile," said Rose. "I can't think of a better thing to dedicate my time to."
Community 2000 will receive assistance from Community Partnership of the Ozarks, out of Springfield, which will provide consultation on implementing the strategic prevention framework model, and from Dr. Charlene Berquist, a professor in the communi-cations department at Missouri State University, and Katie Striley, a MSU graduate assistant, who will serve as program evaluators.
Members of Cassville Community 2000 will also be assisting with the grant program. They include: Chairman Lonnie McCullough, Sr.; Jim Stepp; Kelly Paul; Michele Holenda; Jim Craig, Mike Hayslip; Brad Hanson; Elaine Boles; Rose; Lisa Schlichtman; Amy White; Carol Landstad; and Dana Kammerlohr.
The grant will also be supported by members of Cassville's Youth Advisory Board. They are: Jessica Meadows, Whitney Harrison, Melissa Burnette, Lindy Paul, Misty Huckabey, Jacob Niedzwiecki, Brooke Grimm, Taylor Vanzandt, James Alberson, William Alberson, Jeffery Blankenship, Colt Beck, Phillip Richmiller, Brandon Banks, Tracy Cope, Bekah Crawford, Brittney Gatley, Jessie Gripka, Brennon Holenda, Brittany Patrick and Tyler Smith.
The overarching purpose of the grant will be to create local programs aimed at reducing the prevalence of risky drinking, which is defined as underage drinking or binge drinking among individuals age 12 to 25.
"This grant is an opportunity for the communities of Shell Knob, Cassville, Butterfield, Golden and Eagle Rock to address the issue of risky drinking on a long term basis and to bring about effective methods to reduce risky drinking," said McCullough, Community 2000 chairman.