United Way of Southwest Virginia Receives Grant from Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth
June 02, 2021
Abingdon, VA (June 2, 2021) – United Way of Southwest Virginia is a recipient of a $150,000 grant from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. This grant will be used to support and implement Al’s Pals curriculum in eight Head Start partners located in Wise County, Washington County, City of Bristol, Russell County, Dickenson County, Buchanan County, Lee County, Scott County, and four school-based Virginia Preschool Initiative Pre-K Programs, including Bristol Virginia Public Schools, and Galax City Schools. New partners that we will be partnering with and recruiting will include Buchanan County Schools, Radford City Schools, Smyth County Schools.
The Al’s Pals curriculum supports the development of students’ social skills, self-control, and problem-solving skills. It also supports an understanding of not using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. UWSWVA will provide training to the teachers and give each classroom curriculum toolkits. By implementing the Al’s Pals program into early childhood classroom settings, teachers have the ability to influence a child’s choices and potentially lower the risk of tobacco use. “When teachers are given the tools to open up a conversation about tobacco use, healthy decision making, problem-solving and teach children to have an outlet for their feelings, this can cause a positive impact on a child’s life and the ability to work through their emotions in a healthy way for the future,” said Danielle Dye, Community Resilience Specialist, United Way of Southwest Virginia.
In addition to implementing Al’s Pals curriculum in schools and Head Start programs, United Way of Southwest Virginia will work with community stakeholders and existing prevention groups to develop key messaging about tobacco prevention specifically related to asthma and secondhand smoke.
“We are excited to receive this grant funding from the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth so we can continue to make a difference in our community regarding tobacco use and prevention,” said Travis Staton, President and CEO of United Way of Southwest Virginia, “By giving students information and tools they need early in life to make better, more sound decisions for themselves, we can help prevent substance use like that of tobacco products and in turn create a healthier Southwest Virginia population.”