Spink County Coalition to put five new grants to use in the community
By Shiloh Appel
On Monday, November 18th, the Spink County Coalition met at noon at Leo’s Good Food to discuss the five grants that they have received to better serve the community. Those five grants include the $20,000 Tobacco Grant from the SD Department of Health, $10,000 Community Innovation Grant from the SD Community Foundation, $25,000 Highway Safety Grant from the South Dakota Department of Public Safety, $87,000 Underage Alcohol Prevention Grant from the SD Department of Social Services and Behavioral Health, and the nearly $4,000 Opioid Grant, also from the SD Department of Social Services and Behavioral Health.
The Coalition plans to use the Tobacco Grant to review and revise tobacco policies in the area, advertise those policies, put out information on the consequences of tobacco use in newsletters, newspapers, and in social media, and purchase and post new signs around town concerning tobacco use and the presence of tobacco in certain vaping products. The Coalition also plans to assist health teachers, faculty, and medical providers with resources for educating youth and young adults on nicotine cessation and Quitline. One way in which the Coalition has taken an active role in tobacco use prevention is their involvement in the “Great American Smokeout,” a day for people to set a plan to quit smoking, which is held the third Thursday of November every year. Throughout the day, Coalition members handed out “Quit Kits” that contain various things to help people quit smoking and vaping. The kits contain information and oral substitutes such as gum and candies. They also contain sensory items such as play dough and twisty sticks.
“We’ll hand them out at the dentist office, clinic, hospital, social services, health department, Northeast mental health, and the chiropractor,” said Le Ann Wasmoen, Spink County Coalition Director. “We talked about going to the food truck and maybe giving some information because a lot of people are actually standing in line smoking or vaping as they are getting their food, so we try to think outside of the box on where we can go and share information.”
Meanwhile, the $10,000 Community Innovation Grant, also know as the Spink Area Support Network Grant, will be used to support local farmers and ranchers. Some of the money will be put towards a summit to be held on March 14th from 9a.m. to 4p.m. at the Redfield School. The summit will focus on mental health support for farmers and ranchers and their families. Two keynote speakers will be lined up as the date draws nearer, and many local vendors with health resources will be available.
“We are going to have all of it under the well-being umbrella,” said Chessa Quenzer, Spink County Coalition Coordinator. “The eventual goal is to have a model that can be used in different areas of the state or nation.”
Among other things, the $25,000 Highway Safety Grant will be used to prevent the “3 D’s”: drunk, drowsy and distracted driving. It will cover seatbelt safety and wellness on the road. The entire month of December is “3D” month.
“The other day, I was talking to a student about my car crash and other car crashes that have happened,” said Wasmoen, as she discussed seatbelt safety. “He had been known not to wear his seatbelt, but he said he wears his seatbelt now.”
A big thing that the Coalition is excited about that the Highway Safety Grant will provide is a drunk driving simulator.
“We want to bring that driving simulator in to the school for at least four activities throughout the year,” said Wasmoen.The simulator will enable students to have lifelike experiences of impaired driving and become aware of the dangers.
The Underage Alcohol Prevention Grant, or “Project Success” will be put into the Students Against Destructive Decisions program in the Redfield School District for prevention education. The money will be used for monthly meetings, activities, a steering committee, conferences, the Reality Check program and TATU (Teens Against Tobacco Use).
Finally, the Opioid Grant will be used to purchase opioid abuse prevention curriculum for 6th grade students in the Redfield School District. It will also be used to help prevention efforts at Community Memorial Hospital and in the community.
“We are working with the hospital. The hospital has been working on some new procedures and protocols with helping reduce the number of prescriptions that go out of the emergency room and clinic,” said Wasmoen. “Then we will be doing some presentations with our local community churches in Spink County. That is within our grant. Other funding is training for the hospital staff, EMS and Law Enforcement. We are looking specifically at stigma. There are issues throughout our community about stigma on addiction. So Dawn [Oakley] and I and my staff and some other people at the hospital have been looking at that.”
For more information on the activities provided by the five grants, watch future issues of the Redfield Press.