The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) has announced 11 community-based organizations across the state will receive grants to support youth cannabis and commercial tobacco use prevention programs.
The Pacific County Teen Advocacy Coalition of South Bend were included among the awards.
These grants, totaling $1.3 million over two years, will provide additional funding to a broad group of organizations while helping create infrastructure to support youth substance use prevention tools.
Data shows that nearly all commercial tobacco use begins in youth and young adulthood. Nine out of 10 smokers start before age 18 and 99% start before age 26.
Youth smoking rates in Washington State have significantly decreased, but officials say that more work is needed.
“Empowering communities by recognizing their unique voices, needs, and challenges is one way DOH can help foster effective and meaningful change,” said Michele Roberts, Assistant Secretary for Prevention and Community Health, DOH. “Our hope is that providing resources directly to these community-based organizations, each of whom possess an increased understanding of their own populations, will result in new and exciting solutions.”
Community involvement and understanding are especially important for teens and youth in groups disproportionately targeted by the commercial tobacco and cannabis industries, including both the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities.
The inaugural grant recipients are:
- Foundation For Youth Resiliency & Engagement of Omak, WA
- Jefferson Teen Center of Chimacum, WA
- Kitsap Immigrant Assistance Centers of Bremerton and Port Townsend, WA
- Lopez Island Family Resource Center of Lopez Island, WA
- City of Medical Lake, WA
- Mi Chiantla of Tumwater, WA
- Oasis Youth Center of Tacoma, WA
- Pacific County Teen Advocacy Coalition of South Bend, WA
- Prevent Together Battle Ground of Battle Ground, WA
- Prosser Thrive Coalition of Prosser, WA
- Unite! Washougal of Washougal, WA
DOH will also work with grantees to build mentoring relationships between organizations to help both new and developing programs gain skillsets that support organizational growth, increase reach to impacted youth, and future grant application.