The Wilkes Teen Action Council: Masthead Member Spotlight

The Wilkes Teen Action Council Awarded DFC Grant to Prevent Youth Substance Use

Moravian Falls, North Carolina – The Wilkes Teen Action Council has received a Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Support Program grant to prevent youth substance use, including prescription drugs, marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol. The DFC program, created by the DFC Act of 1997 is the Nation’s leading effort to mobilize communities to prevent youth substance use and is directed by the Office of the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). Grants are provided to community coalitions to strengthen the infrastructure among local partners to create and sustain a reduction in local youth substance use.

“DFC coalitions constitute a critical part of the Nation’s drug prevention infrastructure – they are a catalyst for building capacity at the local level and engaging youth with messaging and resources tailored to their needs and the challenges they face.” said ONDCP Deputy Director Rahul Gupta in his July 2023 Testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability. “In fact, according to the latest DFC National Cross-Site Evaluation Report, 67 million Americans lived in a community with a DFC coalition and 35,000 people were successfully mobilized to engage in youth substance use prevention and reduction efforts.”

“When TAC started in May 2022 it was very clear we had a group of kids in our community who were ready to make a difference. These kids were determined, focused, and dedicated to supporting their peers in a way that truly mattered. They knew that whether or not they had funding they were going to make an impact. In January 2023 these kids headed to National Harbor, MD right outside of Washington DC where they attended the National Leadership forum, hosted by CADCA. At this forum they had the opportunity to talk with our senators about issues and lack of opportunities in Wilkes County. They were also able to meet with leaders from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) where they learned about the DFC grant. Despite being a new group in the community they knew they wanted to tackle this opportunity. Over the next three months TAC along with the help of their Adult Advisory Committee tackled the DFC grant and submitted it in April 2023. These kids poured everything they had into writing a federal grant, and if you have never written a federal grant let me tell you it is a beast, but on August 29th, 2023 our kids found out that it was all worth it. To say I am proud of our kids is an understatement. Being awarded this grant is a true testament that the youth voice has power. They are our future leaders, and without them having a seat at the table we are not giving them the opportunities that they deserve and we are selling our communities short.” said Luke Jarvis the founding Executive Director of Wilkes Youth Life Development (WYLD).

The Teen Action Council (TAC) is a youth-led, adult-guided coalition that strives to create youth connections, provide community outreach, and support youth advocacy. TAC youth educate their peers in hopes to prevent substance misuse and mental health challenges. They do this by working together as a team to plan and implement activities.

TAC accomplishes their mission by giving youth a voice, providing youth an outlet, and showing youth their reason. The coalition will focus on facilitating accessible and open community collaboration between sectors in order to create a well-trained prevention-focused team, and optimize the amount of youth being served through the coalition. The coalition will also focus on engaging youth and families in evidence-based prevention activities to increase the knowledge and preparation of the target population to make substance-free choices.

The DFC funding provides $125,000 per year for up to ten years to our coalition. DFC is a matching grant which means that we have to demonstrate at least $125,000 per year in community support of the project. The Wilkes Teen Action Council aims to pour all $250,000 back into their community to maximize the support available for local youth! This funding will be used to address youth substance use by engaging youth, ages 13-24, in the planning and implementation of strategies and activities. Funding will support youth to participate in leadership training, positive substance-free activities and more as well as provide parent engagement activities; a small percentage of the funding will be used for staffing. The coalition hopes to increase the capacity in Wilkes to improve social connections for youth, to reduce health disparities, and to reduce the negative impacts of alcohol and marijuana-related consequences in hopes of improving the overall health of our community.

Media Contact: Luke Jarvis, Executive Director

About CADCA:
The mission of CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally. This is accomplished by providing technical assistance and training, public policy advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, training and special events. For more information about CADCA, visit

CADCA, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, drug prevention, Drug-Free Communities, grant, Moravian Falls, North Carolina, Office of the National Drug Control Policy, substance abuse, Wilkes Teen Action Council, Wilkes Youth Life Development, youth-led

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