Rotary of Pike County receives grant to aid in funding of anti-drinking, anti-drug program

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PITTSFIELD, Ill. — The Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County recently gave $920 to the Rotary Club of Pike County for its “Seven Reasons to Leave the Party” anti-drinking and anti-drug program held May 3 for the benefit of every Pike County eighth-grade class.

Grant funds were used to provide T-shirts for every student to identify for their group and for them to keep. Among the eight presentations featured as part of the day-long program were mental health and bullying; vaping and nicotine use; drug and alcohol abuse; and the Pike County Sheriff’s Department with drug paraphernalia.

In a press release, Rotary Club president Diane Vose said, “The Rotary Club of Pike County is thrilled to partner with the Health and Wellness Foundation of Pike County to be able to provide T-shirts for all Pike County eighth grade students who attended the ‘Seven Reasons to Leave the Party’ event at Pikeland Community School. The Rotary Club has held the event for several years, and the Health and Wellness Foundation’s support is integral to the success of the event. We appreciate all the foundation does to support the health and wellness of the community members of Pike County.”

“We have partnered with the Rotary Club to provide grant funding for this much-needed program many times over the years. We think it is essential that all of the eighth graders in Pike County are exposed to the consequences of risky decisions, and we were especially pleased to see that they have added some new components to the program that impact youth today,” foundation executive director Patricia McIntosh said.

McIntosh said federal agencies and national studies all indicate that youths today have never been more impacted by alcohol, e-cigarettes and other substance use. The Centers for Disease Control in a 2022 study said 27.6 percent of youths ages 12-18 vaped daily. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics cited in a study encompassing 2016-21 that 21.3 percent of eighth graders nationally have tried an illicit drug at least once.

“Awareness and access to information through programs such as Rotary’s program is vital toward prevention, especially when combined with other interventions such as communication campaigns, family-based interventions and community collaborations. The foundation continues to explore effective approaches and programs to serve Pike County’s youths and their families,” McIntosh said.

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