Placer County grants help make safe and sober youth |

Placer County grants help make safe and sober youth

Courtesy imageStudents with the Adventure Risk and Challenge program take in the view from Castle Peak.

Drug and alcohol use and abuse, teen pregnancy, violence and gang involvement are all prevalent issues in today’s society. Placer County Health and Human Services is working to reduce, postpone and eliminate these afflictions by promoting youth development and resources in the community.

The Friday Night Live program provides the county’s youth with experiences created to encourage individual strengths in preparation for adulthood. The activities are intended to be fun, safe and to aide development as active community members.

“No one person or program can totally prevent drug or alcohol use. We all need to collaborate as a community to help raise healthy youth,” said River Coyote, Placer County’s Tahoe health educator.

Friday Night Live offers grants for community organizations to put together events to get local youth connected in meaningful ways, said Coyote.

Last year organizations such as Creating Alternatives, Tahoe Women’s Services and Adventure Risk Challenge, among others, used the opportunity to help fund alcohol and drug-free activities including dances, a luau, barbecues, mother-daughter events, peer liaison groups and movie nights.

“What I think is great with Placer County is that they’re really preventative and forward thinking ” committed to supporting programs giving youth empowering alternatives,” said Katie Zanto, the director of Adventure Risk Challenge. “We look to the county for support because we always need to raise money. We need support from as many local agencies as possible to make it all happen.”

Tahoe Women’s Services uses the grant money to support Teen Speakers Bureau, a group of teens who meet and train as peer liaisons in violence prevention education. The money helps to fund curriculum, training, activities and general program development and maintenance. Additionally, last year they hosted a poster and essay scholarship contest to benefit local teens.

“It’s nice to be encouraged and supported to do and sustain other projects as another piece of violence prevention,” said Rose Tutera, the prevention programs manager with Tahoe Women’s Services.

The grant awards will be funded for up to $2,499 and are due by Sept. 29. For more information or the application form check out the link “Grants available for youth agencies” at the top of the Web site at

“We really see youth as resources to the communities and believe in their ability to contribute in meaningful ways,” said Coyote. “[These grants help in] connecting youth and adults in healthy ways, giving them the opportunity to do things other than drugs and alcohol.”

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