York Co. drug-free coalition continues despite funding concerns

jzou@heraldonline.comOctober 2, 2013 

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    To learn more about All on Board’s donating and fundraising efforts, call Bob Norwood at 803-230-3066.

York County’s drug-free coalition is continuing with a full schedule of events and programs for the rest of the year despite the organization’s shaky financial future.

All On Board – a partnership of concerned residents, local law enforcement and other agencies that works to combat youth substance abuse – kicked off a fundraising campaign in August after it unexpectedly lost federal funding.

“We’re inching ourselves along the year here,” said Bob Norwood, the coalition’s executive director.

He and the coalition’s other staff member have been working toward a goal of $125,000, which would pay for operations for one fiscal year.

So far, the coalition has received more than $46,000 in private donations, Norwood said, which will keep the organization running through January.

Money has come in from the York County Sheriff’s Office, the 16th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, local doctors’ groups and businesses.

The coalition’s Drug Free Communities Grant was not renewed after a clerical error in paperwork, Norwood said. The plan is to raise enough money to stay afloat until the coalition can reapply for the grant next year.

The coalition might switch gears if its current approach of appealing to large donors doesn’t pick up speed by Thanksgiving, Norwood said. The original goal was to raise the full amount by the end of September, when the coalition’s fiscal year ended.

But Norwood said he is hopeful things will pick up once pending donations for next year kick in.

“Some folks are already spent,” he said of donors whose budgets have been allocated for the year. “They’re trying to work their budgets to help us.”

Tragic start

The coalition works with local law enforcement on alcohol compliance checks in stores countywide to ensure businesses aren’t selling alcohol to minors or to people without proper identification.

All on Board was founded in 2003 after the death of a local teen in an alcohol-related car accident.

Since then, the coalition has branched out with public speaking engagements, partnerships with schools and secure drop-off boxes for medicine.

The coalition is planning an event later this month featuring the founder of Project Lazarus, a North Carolina-based overdose and opioid safety group, Norwood said.

The coalition is also planning an anti-bullying event for November and a legislative breakfast in December during which members will discuss with lawmakers the county’s recent spike in methamphetamine lab busts and other drug-related concerns.

“We’re operating as if we’re fine,” Norwood said.

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