Belle Fourche’s Action for the Betterment of the Community (ABC) coalition has been awarded $125,000 annually over the next five years to support its substance abuse prevention and treatment services in Butte County. According to the Black Hills Pioneer, ABC was one of fifty organizations selected nationwide to receive a Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant. This grant is funded by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, with support from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The organization works to improve the communities by reducing youth drug and alcohol use and addressing social issues that could threaten the health and safety of community members and families. ABC currently provides youth drug and alcohol evaluations for individuals under 18, but this increased funding will allow them to reach youth up to age 25 throughout Butte County.
President of the coalition board and Butte County State’s Attorney Cassie Wendt is excited about what the grant funding can bring to the program and hopes to expand to Newell, Nisland, and Vale to best serve Butte County residents. ABC has also partnered with the Belle Fourche School District, so coalition counselors can have direct contact with area students. Other partners include area businesses, law enforcement, ministerial officials, and more.
ABC of Belle Fourche has applied for this kind of federal funding in two prior years, but this is the first time it received a grant. 782 organizations from throughout the United States applied this year and only 50 were selected. After the first five-year period, this type of grant has an option for a second five years if the program proves successful.
Wendt and others first started the Belle Fourche ABC Coalition in 2015, with assistance from the established Sturgis ABC coalition.
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