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(Mon., Sept. 27, 2010)—Acting Mayor Kirk Caldwell today announced the award of nearly $1 million in grants to community groups working to prevent underage drinking among O‘ahu youth. 

            “Our young people deserve the best opportunities to succeed, and alcohol can be a serious problem for them,” Caldwell said. “In these challenging economic times, we are pleased to support programs that will reduce the risk of underage drinking in our community.”

            The City’s Department of Community Services is awarding $942,242 to community-based groups to implement programs in support of the City’s Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF-SIG) initiative, which aims to prevent underage drinking among O‘ahu youth ages 12-17. 

According to the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, youth in Hawai‘i are more likely than youth in other states to drink before the age of 13 and to consume alcoholic beverages at school. Many of the same factors that contribute to underage drinking can also contribute to other forms of substance abuse and health risk behaviors.

Six O‘ahu-based groups have been selected for awards based on their experience, capabilities, and proposed activities. These six groups are: Alu Like, Coalition for a Drug Free Hawai‘i, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Honolulu, Boys and Girls Club of Hawai‘i, Hawai‘i Speed and Quickness, and Hina Mauka. The programs will be implemented in different sites across O‘ahu, from Waianae to Waimânalo. This component of the City’s SPF-SIG initiative is projected to reach over five thousand youth between the ages of 12 and 17.

The federally-funded initiative, which is also being implemented in Maui, Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i counties, requires that all programs have proven results in other communities. However, adaptations may be made to make the programs more culturally appropriate for Hawai‘i’s youth. Typically, these programs are taught in schools and community settings and improve youth self-esteem, decision making, and social skills.

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Contact:  Debbie Kim Morikawa, Director, Department of Community Services, 768-7760.