OSSINING, N.Y. – Ossining is getting help from the federal government to combat substance abuse in children.
U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-Harrison) announced Monday that seven federal grants totaling $875,000 have been awarded to several Westchester County communities to fund youth anti-substance abuse. Six of the grants will go to Ossining, White Plains, Pelham, Port Chester, Ardsley and Larchmont, which will receive $125,000 each for various community-based programs.
Lowey told the crowd gathered Monday at the Ossining Public Library that parents in Westchester County are worried about drugs getting a hold in their communities and looking for help because “they see it coming.”
“Even as experts, with those of us who have been working on this for a long time, I’m not sure we have all of the answers. And that’s why this money is so very important,” Lowey said. “Because parents are desperate. They are really desperate for help.”
Lowey later praised Ossining Communities That Care, a community organization seeking to prevent substance abuse among teens.
“I am so pleased to be able to help you get the resources because you’re the ones doing it on the ground,” Lowey said. “We all share an obligation to help young people make smart choices and that’s what this is all about.”
Alice Joselow, co-chair of Ossining Communities That Care, said the funding will help go toward several initiatives. Joselow noted that the organization is starting up dozens of initiatives with the Village of Ossining Police and Ossining School District this year.
“We’re very excited about what this will do,” Joselow said, adding that the group is in its eighth year of federal funding. “We’ve cast a wide net for prevention in the Ossining community and the drug-free funds have really supported a lot of outstanding programming and policy change in Ossining. We’re really grateful to be awarded our year eight grant. (Lowey) is a true defender of prevention at a time when prevention is not valued.”
Lt. Jim Montegue, of the Village of Ossining Police Department, said it was vital that more programs focus on prevention, rather than reactionary techniques, to curb underage substance abuse.
“This funding is very important and our efforts have borne fruit over the last few years,” Montegue said, adding that the department installed the county’s first take-back bin in Ossining earlier this year. “It’s a continuing fight. It’s not going to end. We’re going to have to continue to work on it every year and that funding provides that opportunity for us to keep fighting and help protect the community.”