Coalition pressing programs on youth violence, drug use

January 17, 2001|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

About 50 Carroll County schoolchildren gathered yesterday at the Westminster library branch to learn about a range of programs designed to provide them with assets - including empowerment, positive values and a commitment to learning - that will help them make sound decisions.

Members of a newly formed coalition, ACTIVE Alliance for a Healthier Community, sponsored the event, calling for new programs - from faith-based marriage counseling to greater availability of long-term care for substance users - to combat juvenile violence and drug use.

The proposals drafted by the ACTIVE (Adults and Children Together Improving Values and Ethics) Alliance stem from the county commissioners' strategic plan, a "to do" list for their four-year term that calls for a "focus on youths and families" to "reduce the risk of crime and substance abuse."

The commissioners have committed $50,000 to the alliance, money that is being used to pay the salaries of two program coordinators.

Anna Bible, a math teacher at Francis Scott Key High School, will be the chief coordinator.

Bible, whose appointment was announced yesterday, will help match volunteers with organizations in need of help, substance users with treatment, and church groups with business leaders. To meet that goal, Bible said her first priority would be to draft a list of available programs, then evaluate those programs to find gaps in service. Michael College, a former state trooper, will assist Bible.

"This is not just another coalition or committee," Bible said. "The alliance is here to bring all of [the county's programs] together. Picture the alliance as a bicycle. The spokes are the programs, the healthier families and youths are the hub and the alliance is the chain that keeps the wheels of communication going."

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