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Communities that Care

A group is working together to help kids make better choices in life after seeing a spike in drug and alcohol use.
JOHNSTOWN, CAMBRIA COUNTY--- A group is working together to help kids make better choices in life after seeing a spike in drug and alcohol use.

It’s called Communities that Care, it is a group of about 60 different organizations from throughout the county.  Some members are volunteers, others teachers even police officers and nurses are apart of it.  The goal is to keep kids focused and away from making bad choices.

According to the 2013 Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS). The problem is the number of kids trying alcohol at least once between grades 8 and 10 nearly doubled to 65 percent and climbed to 78 percent among high school seniors.  Two of every five or 42 percent of 12th graders in Cambria County admitted to drinking alcohol regularly in 2013.  PAYS is a survey of over 4000 middle and high school students, representing every school district in Cambria County.

“In 10th, 11th and 12th grade we saw a spike in tobacco, alcohol and marijuana use,” said Marlene Singer, a coalition member.

The group was formed last September; they meet monthly to discuss positive ways to keep kids involved and engaged.  In May they did a survey with about 50 kids in the county.  They said there was plenty of programs in the middle school about awareness but not so much in the high school.  That’s one of the areas of focus for next school year.

"They want to be engaged they want to volunteer and they want to be mentored,” said Singer.  “They want to be apart of the solution in making the world a better place we just have to give them the avenue to do that."

Coalition meets monthly at the Ebensburg Municipal Building.  The next meeting of the Cambria County Prevention Coalition is Tuesday, July 8 at 8:30 a.m.  For more information, contact Paula Newman, CTC chairman, at (814) 539-1919 or by email at pnewman@beginningsinc.org.

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