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Washington State News

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE ANNOUNCES $650,000 IN FEDERAL FUNDING FOR MENTORING YOUTH AFFECTED BY OPIOID AND OTHER SUBSTANCE MISUSE IN YAKIMA COUNTY

Yakima, Washington – Vanessa R. Waldref, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, today announced a Department of Justice grant award for the Safe Yakima Valley’s Youth Mentoring Program. This grant allocates $650,000 to expand their mentoring program and provide substance misuse awareness training.

The 2021 Washington State Healthy Youth Survey indicates that Yakima County youth use alcohol and marijuana at higher rates than statewide counterparts (21% v. 18%) constituting a

61.5% increase over a three-year period. We can expect that, without preventative actions such as mentoring, substance use rates will rise further. Safe Yakima Valley’s Youth Mentoring Program will mitigate the harmful impact of individual and family substance misuse.

Pursuant to the grant award, six program objectives will be tracked: 1) Expanding and enhancing Safe Yakima Valley’s Youth Mentoring Program with Elements of Effective Practice for Mentoring, 2) Developing 300 positive adult role models with a high degree of mentor competency, established through successful completion of mentor training, 3) Providing substance misuse awareness training to 300 adult mentors, 4) Initiating direct one-on-one mentoring for 300 target youth for a minimum of 39 contact hours over a 12-month minimum match period, 5) Providing 10 hours of “Keepin’ it REAL” drug-prevention training to 300 target youth, and 6) holding 18 mentee-family engagement events.

In announcing this award, U.S. Attorney Waldref stated, “Our office is committed to reducing tragic substance misuse, especially when it affects those who are most vulnerable in our district. We all are alarmed at the increased rates in substance abuse by today’s youth, and we must take action. Youth mentoring programs like this one allow federal, state, local, and Tribal community leaders an outlet to provide youth in need with information to prevent substance misuse and make Eastern Washington safer and stronger.”

Additional information about grants and funding through the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs is available at https://www.ojp.gov.  Information regarding the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence against Women is available at https://www.justice.gov/ovw.