Coalition to add full-time planner

The Illinois Department of Human Services recently awarded the Ben Gordon Center and the DeKalb County Partnership for a Safe, Active and Family Environment (DCP/SAFE) a $75,000 grant under the Substance Abuse Prevention Program.

The funding is intended to reduce the consumption of, consequences from and contributing factors to the misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Funds will be used to hire a full-time staff member to assist the coalition with strategic planning, including a thorough needs assessment of DeKalb County, coalition recruitment and program development.

Anna Stevens, prevention and education program manager for the Ben Gordon Center, said the funds couldn’t have come at a better time.

“The coalition recently received notification of its continued funding under the Drug Free Communities Grant, and we are extremely excited to see what kind of differences we can make with these grants,” she said.

DCP/SAFE is primarily made up of social service professionals and volunteers who see a great need for the coalition to continue, but don’t always have the time and resources to move it into the future.

“Now we have the capacity to have a paid staff member specifically designated to assist with the necessary leg work,” Stevens said.

DCP/SAFE has existed for more than 23 years. It started as the DeKalb County Partnership for a Substance Abuse Free Environment, then later changed its name to address other concerns. Recently, a growing number of coalition members have expressed a desire to centralize its focus again, Stevens said.

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