augusta free press news

Underage drinking prevention efforts get boost

The Strong Families/Great Youth Coalition has been awarded a $7,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to help prevent underage drinking.

The coalition plans to use the grant to fund writing, production and broadcast of a 20-minute educational video. The video will be written and produced by coalition youth with the help of Bridgewater College professor Dr. Brian Kelley, chair of the department of psychology. The video will address the neurological effects of underage drinking on the adolescent brain, and will run as a 30-minute TV show five times a year to a viewership of 131,070 households through WHSV-TV3.

In addition, the video will be made available to community coalitions across Virginia and will be used at a national Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America presentation in Washington, D.C.

“Research on the permanent effects of alcohol and other drugs on the developing adolescent brain is relatively new,” said Tonya Osinkosky, health education awareness coordinator, RMH Community Health. “Educating parents and youth about it is an important public health campaign to our community.”

RMH is a co-leading agency for the Strong Families/ Great Youth Coalition, along with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board. The coalition, which serves the Harrisonburg-Rockingham County area, was formed to promote increased collaboration, reduce duplication of services, coordinate funding efforts, collect data and increase environmental efforts to positively effect the community’s perception of youth and youth behaviors and respond to emerging needs.

For a complete list of coalition partners, click here.

The grant is one of seven Community Coalition Grants totaling $56,350 that were awarded by the Virginia ABC for alcohol education and enforcement initiatives throughout the Commonwealth.

Funded by a federal grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the grants were awarded to organizations that demonstrated a creative and effective plan to promote zero tolerance for underage drinking, reach large numbers of people through its programs, gain broad-based community support and ensure effectiveness and accountability, according to the Virginia ABC.

Edited by Chris Graham. Chris can be reached at

augusta free press
augusta free press