A youth coalition on a mission to stop substance misuse and reduce the stigma around mental health is turning to local communities for funding after losing a federal grant that supported the organization for years.
The Southern Rockingham County Coalition for Healthy Youth, also known as SoRock, has reached out to several communities in recent weeks to seek support.
After its federal funding expired on Sept. 30, SoRock operated on an extension through December.
The organization’s coordinator position and costs for January are being funded through a small reserve of previous non-federal grants and donations.
“We are also working with a local healthcare entity and hope to soon be receiving a bridge grant to help extend paid operations closer to spring,” SoRock coordinator Charlotte Scott said in a statement.
The coalition serves Atkinson, Danville, Fremont, Hampstead, Kingston, Newton, Plaistow, and Sandown.
SoRock representatives made a last-minute decision to ask towns for financial help for the 2020 fiscal year after it didn’t receive additional federal grant funding that it had anticipated. There was also a delay in the release of a state grant.
“We realized approaching our towns a little later may present some logistical challenges but felt it was worth trying,” Scott said.
SoRock began in 1988 as the Title IV Safe and Drug Free Schools Advisory Council. It became known as the Sanborn Timberlane Safe and Drug Free Coalition in 2003 and was renamed Southern Rockingham County Coalition for Healthy Youth in 2009.
The coalition’s mission is to promote wellness and nurture resiliency for the children, youth and families of southern Rockingham County with goals of preventing substance misuse and the stigma involved with mental health struggles.
According to Scott, SoRock’s staff and members have been attending selectmen and budget committee meetings in the towns they serve and have presented warrant article petitions seeking $1 per town resident.
The organization has submitted petitioned warrant articles or been included in the municipal budget in the towns of Atkinson, Danville, Hampstead, Kingston, Newton, Plaistow and Sandown. Due to time constraints, SoRock was unable to get funding in Fremont’s proposed town budget or through a petitioned warrant article.
“SoRock may not be new to servicing the area but we are brand new to the town funding process. The town administrators have been amazingly helpful and instrumental at guiding us through this process,” Scott said.SoRock plans to seek other local, state and federal funding sources along with in-kind services.