Beach Cities Partnership for Youth Coalition Awarded 2019 Drug-Free Communities Program Grant

November 10, 2019

The Beach Cities Partnership for Youth Coalition was awarded a fiscal year 2019 Drug-Free Communities Program (DFC) grant in the amount of $125,000 by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), in cooperation with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The grant term is five years with total funding expected to be $625,000. The Coalition serves the Beach Cities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach in California, a community of 123,398 people. The Beach Cities Partnership for Youth Coalition joins more than 150 community coalitions across the U.S. working to increase community-wide collaboration and decrease youth substance use. Recognizing that local problems need local solutions, DFC-funded groups engage multiple sectors of the community and employ a variety of strategies to address local substance use problems. Among the grantees, the Beach Cities Partnership for Youth Coalition is one of seven recipients from California.

In 2016, Beach Cities Health District (BCHD) – a preventive health agency serving the communities of Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach since 1955 – identified substance use prevention and mental health as top health priorities for the Beach Cities youth population to address higher levels of substance use, suicidal ideation and anxiety than their statewide peers. BCHD is serving as the lead agency for the Coalition and will administer the DFC grant in the Beach Cities. “Since BCHD identified youth substance use as a health priority, more than 200 partners have joined us to form the Beach Cities Partnership for Youth Coalition, helping put the infrastructure in place to tackle some of the health challenges facing our community,” said Beach Cities Health District CEO Tom Bakaly. “Through the DFC grant, we’ll be able to accelerate these efforts and take a community approach to decreasing youth substance use, and ultimately help our students grow into healthy adults.” “In order to create safe and healthy places for the next generation, we must break through to our children now and educate them about the dangers of substance use,” ONDCP Director Jim Carroll said. “The Drug-Free Communities, administered by our office across the United States, are proven prevention programs tailored to do just that by meeting the specific needs in each community. We will continue expanding the number of community-based coalitions dedicated to the critical mission of stopping substance use among our youth before it starts.”

The Coalition was created in 2017 by creating five stakeholder committees: 1) Students, 2) Parents, 3) Mental Health Providers, 4) School Administrators and 5) Community Members to implement strategies to reduce youth substance use in a comprehensive, long-term manner. The goals of the Coalition are to establish and strengthen community collaboration in support of local efforts to prevent youth substance use. The Coalition will achieve its goals by employing strategies including engaging with policymakers to pass policies that reduce youth access to alcohol and marijuana, expanding collaboration with families impacted by substance use and working with local school and youth leadership to provide positive development opportunities so students are empowered to create a purposeful path for themselves and have the opportunity to be healthy, happy and to thrive – in and out of school. Since 2017, more than 8,000 Beach Cities students, parents, elected officials, business owners, clinicians and community partners have been engaged in Coalition activities. A community education series co-presented with a local nonprofit, South Bay Families Connected, has educated more than 6,000 parents on topics including alcohol, marijuana, vaping, mental health and resilience. More than 80 Beach Cities youth make up the Youth Advisory Council, an action-oriented, student-led group of 8th-12th grade students who are passionate about making a difference in the health outcomes of their peers. More than 75 community health providers, including clinicians serving students and families, have donated time and resources to support more than two dozen school and community events.

As part of the grant process, the Coalition was required to provide Involvement Agreements from the steering committee. The Coalition also received written support for the DFC Grant from Congressman Ted Lieu (CA – 33rd District) and representatives of six of the seven publicly elected bodies in the Beach Cities – the city councils and school boards in Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach, along with the BCHD board.

Beach Cities Partnership for Youth Coalition Steering Committee Members: • Stacey Armato, Mayor, City of Hermosa Beach • Rachel Campbell, Campus Pastor, Wave Church, Hermosa Beach • Jennifer Cochran, Vice President, Board of Trustees, Manhattan Beach Unified School District • Kevin Cody, Publisher, Easy Reader • Doug Gardner, Board President, Hermosa Beach City School District • Moe Gelbart, PhD, Executive Director, Thelma McMillen Center for Alcohol & Drug Treatment, Torrance Memorial Medical Center • John Gran, President, Redondo Beach Kiwanis and Councilman, City of Redondo Beach • Nancy Hersman, Mayor, City of Manhattan Beach • Joan Stein Jenkins, City Prosecutor, City of Manhattan Beach • Keith Kauffman, Chief, Redondo Beach Police Department • Alice Kuo, MD, PhD, MBA, Professor and Chief, UCLA Internal Medicine and Pediatrics • Laura McIntire, Founder, South Bay Families Connected • Milton McKinnon, Acting Chief, Hermosa Beach Police Department • Vanessa Poster, Board President, Beach Cities Health District • Ella Scalabrini, Student, Mira Costa High School • Kelly Stroman, CEO, Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce • Anthony Taranto, EdD, Exec. Director of Student Services, Redondo Beach Unified School District • Gary Tsai, MD, Medical Director and Science Officer, Substance Abuse Prevention & Control, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health • Angela Wilson, LMFT, Director of Mental Health Programs, South Bay Children’s Health Center