United Way of Northwest Vermont has been selected by the State of Vermont to lead regional strategy for substance misuse prevention.
South Burlington, VT: United Way of Northwest Vermont (UWNWVT) was selected by the State of Vermont Department of Health, Division of Substance Use (DSU) as one of four Lead Prevention Organizations across the state. In this role, UWNWVT will lead substance misuse prevention activities and subgrant funds to community prevention partners located in Chittenden, Franklin, Grand Isle, and Washington counties.
As a lead prevention entity, UWNWVT will work with community partners to develop a comprehensive, regional approach to prevent the onset of substance misuse, delay initiation of use, promote healthy lifestyles, and optimize wellbeing among individuals, families, and communities across the lifespan.
The two-year grant period began July 1, 2023, and UWNWVT is currently forming an advisory committee to develop and oversee an equitable process for allocating state funds. Sub-granting to community prevention partners will begin in January 2024. In year one, $268,000 will be distributed in Northwest Vermont (Chittenden, Grand Isle, and Franklin Counties) and $104,000 is available for Washington County.
“Reducing substance misuse has long been a key focus for United Way of Northwest Vermont and one that has been exacerbated in recent years alongside interconnected issues like mental health challenges and housing insecurity. United Way’s approach brings local people together to work towards local solutions for the multiple, interconnected challenges impacting our families, friends, and neighbors,” said UWNWVT CEO Jesse Bridges.
UWNWVT was well positioned to receive the Prevention Lead designation due to the organization’s experience leading the Northwest Vermont Prevention Network, which launched in December 2021, following a year of community planning. The Prevention Network is funded by a Vermont Prevention Center of Excellence grant and is guided by a 5-year strategic plan.
“Our work in the role of Prevention Lead is building on the incredible work our partners are already doing to prevent and reduce substance misuse in our communities. Prevention is so much more than telling young people to ‘just say no to drugs,’ it’s about making sure people of all ages have access to the resources and supportive relationships they need to live healthy, purpose-driven lives,” says UWNWVT Prevention Network Manager Mahat Abdullahi. “This grant gives us the opportunity to expand our work beyond Northwest Vermont and collaborate with amazing colleagues in Washington County.”
The Washington County PLO team is co-led by Central Vermont Prevention Coalition, for which Central Vermont Medical Center is the backbone organization, and Central Vermont New Directions Coalition/Mosaic VT.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for prevention work in Central Vermont to rebuild after suffering from capacity issues, the ongoing housing crisis, and impacts from the pandemic. We’re fortunate to be meeting these challenges with membership support from Central Vermont Prevention Coalition, Central Vermont New Directions Coalition and partner organizations. We’re grateful to work with our incredible colleagues at United Way of Northwest Vermont to create a thriving, connected network of people committed to promoting wellbeing in our communities,” said Sultana Khan, Director of Social Change for the Central Vermont New Directions Coalition.
The other three organizations selected along with UWNWVT as Lead Prevention Organizations are Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, Rutland Regional Medical Center and Mt. Ascutney Hospital. The State of Vermont’s high-level goals for this work include:
- Prevent and reduce substance use/misuse across all ages and substances;
- Ensure all Vermonters have access to substance misuse prevention statewide that allows for and optimizes regional assets and variability;
- Decrease geographic and other health disparities;
- Increase efficiency and collaboration on prevention efforts across all state, public, and private entities through a consolidated and holistic approach to
prevention that is sustainable, scalable, and equitable.
To learn more and get involved in Northwest Vermont substance misuse prevention efforts, visit www.preventionnetworknwvt.org. To learn more and get involved in Central Vermont, contact Sultana Khan at firstname.lastname@example.org or Eva at email@example.com
About United Way of Northwest Vermont
United Way of Northwest Vermont (UWNWVT) mobilizes our community to do the work that no single organization can do alone. We proudly serve Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties of Vermont. United Way convenes advocates, organizations and institutions to address the community’s most pressing issues. Real change is possible when nonprofit, public, and private sectors work together. For more information or to get involved, visit unitedwaynwvt.org.