Making a difference:

Grand Futures Prevention Coalition benefits from United Way funds

Christina M. Currie

In a time when youth have so many negative choices, it’s a challenge to provide them with positive alternatives, let alone to ensure they have a high enough self-esteem to make those positive choices.

Those are two important goals for Grand Futures Prevention Coalition, and the funding the organization receives from Moffat County United Way helps to make it successful.

Grand Futures — a drug abuse prevention coalition — is fully funded by local contributions and state and federal grants. Since those grants require a local match of between 25 and 50 percent, local contributions are necessary to secure that funding.

The $5,000 United Way provides Grand Futures goes a long way in keeping the organization in the black and helps secure the grants that make up its $83,000 annual budget.

“United Way is awesome,” Grand Futures director Cindy Biskup said. “Every year they’ve increased our funding.”

Most of the money United Way contributes to Grand Futures is used during Red Ribbon week — an alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse education campaign. Grand Futures provides educational materials to the school district, funds a media campaign to heighten awareness and has secured the use of a multi-media presentation for all the schools.

Red Ribbon Week is the last week in October.

“Without United Way funding, we would not be able to provide Red Ribbon Week activities like we can,” Biskup said. “We believe it’s a very important week and we’d like to keep it going for years to come.”

Grand Futures’ mission is to provide a framework for the community to create and promote positive, healthy lifestyles as alternative choices to substance abuse for youth.

That’s accomplished in a myriad of ways.

Grand Futures offers TIPs training to alcohol servers and year-round alternative activities for all age groups. Those include ice skating parties, dances, pool parties or miniature golf outings.

“They’re mostly in the evenings so kids aren’t out looking for things they shouldn’t do,” Biskup said.

This year, Grand Futures has joined several other community groups to provide a day of activities during teacher in-service days.

And also this year, Grand Futures will be participating in a research program called “Creating Lasting Family Connections.” The program requires the creation of a comprehensive family strengthening, substance abuse and violence prevention curriculum.

The 15-week course will target at-risk youth who will learn ways to say no and communication skills.

Grand Futures also sponsors public relations campaigns during hunting season, holidays and around graduation to prevent driving under the influence at those high-risk times. The coalition conducts tobacco sale compliance checks and alcohol stings, as well as being one of the sponsors of the Great American Smokeout.

Misty Schultz, who works with the District Attorney’s office youth diversion program, said the youth she works with benefit from the services Grand Future offers.

“I’m behind them 100 percent,” she said. “I think it’s a very worthwhile program.”

Schultz said the youth she works with benefit the most from Grand Futures’ life skills class, which teaches self-esteem, anger management, how to deal with peer pressure and deals with substance

abuse issues.

She encourages all the youth in the diversion program to participate in Grand Futures activities.

“They offer alternative activities that help diversion kids get out of a rut and make new friends,” Schultz said. “I think (the activities) make an impact.”

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, Ext. 210 or by e-mail at

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