Bridgeport, CT — Today, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-04) announced that two community coalitions, the Community Fund of Darien’s Thriving Youth Task Force and Fairfield Public Schools in partnership with Fairfield CARES, received Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grants. Each will be awarded $625,000 over five years, totaling $1.25 million in funding to address local youth substance use.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put a real strain on our kids,” said Congressman Jim Himes. “It’s sadly not surprising that the National Institute of Health found an increase in adolescents using nicotine products and misusing prescription drugs. That’s why Drug-Free Communities Support Program and their partners’ work is more important than ever. I look forward to working with these organizations to ensure they have the resources needed to keep our communities safe and healthy.” 

"The grant award is the culmination of many years of work and partnership with the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Positive Directions of Westport, the Fairfield Public Schools, the Town of Fairfield, and the leadership team of the coalition", said Philip Dwyer, Fairfield CARES Co-chair.  "This will allow Fairfield CARES to continue its focus on reducing alcohol and marijuana use among youth."

"Fairfield CARES has worked consistently over many years with Fairfield Public Schools, as well as parent and community volunteers, to help the coalition achieve its mission and benefit from this opportunity,” said Mike Cummings, Superintendent of Schools and Co-chair of Fairfield CARES. “Thus Fairfield Public Schools was pleased to partner with CARES in this grant."

“The Thriving Youth Task Force’s programs will provide parents with critical information about how marijuana impacts the teen brain and strategies for keeping open lines of communication with their teen around all substance use,” said Thriving Youth Program Director Emily Larkin. 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the DFC Support Program provides grants to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use. After five years, community coalitions may re-compete for another five-year cycle of grant funding. Click here to learn about the DFC Support Program.