Friday, May 20, 2016

Rotary Club grant to fund drug prevention education

Drug prevention education in Manchester schools is getting a significant boost with a donation of $10,000 from Manchester Rotary Club. The grant will be used to develop a plan that integrates drug use prevention activities into core content curriculum for students in grades 6 through 12.

Manchester Rotary Club president Mark Burns, Rotary Foundation chair Sue Manchester, and Rotary program chair Cindy Gaffney present a check to Manchester School District superintendent Debra Livingston, assistant superintendent David Ryan
“In light of the heroin epidemic that Manchester and so many other communities are facing, education about drugs contained to one class or even a week of awareness is no longer adequate,” said Superintendent Debra Livingston. “The intent of the instruction we want to create is to keep the dangers of heroin use and other addictive behaviors familiar to students so that they make smart and healthy choices in their own lives.”

Money raised by the Rotary Club is traditionally used to promote the organization’s motto, Service Above Self, through support for projects and programs that address critical needs in the local community.
“When we approached the school district about whether our funds could benefit Manchester’s students, the idea of drug prevention education seemed like a great fit,” said Manchester Rotary Club president Mark Burns.

A committee of 29 school counselors, student assistance program coordinators, and teachers representing all eight middle and high schools will work with local service agency representatives to develop the new curriculum activities outside of the school day. The grant will provide stipends to those on the team for up to 10 hours of work. About $1,000 of the Rotary Club grant is set aside for supplies and reserve expenses.

In many respects on this topic, educators are inventing the wheel. The Rotary Club’s commitment to help fund the process will go a long way toward making Manchester’s efforts a success. One of the goals of the curriculum development work is to share the integrated activities with other interested school districts.

“We’ve met with Somersworth School District, the one other school district we know of looking to enhance substance abuse and addiction awareness education in this fashion,” said Manchester School District Assistant Superintendent David Ryan. “Because heroin addiction does not discriminate between zip codes or demographics, it makes sense for Manchester and Somersworth to do the work together for all of our kids.”

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