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Youth-Led Substance Use Prevention Grows in Appalachian Ohio


NEXUS Teams Up with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio
To Invest in Youth

NELSONVILLE, OH Appalachian Ohio’s greatest natural resource is its young people. Grants just announced through the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) will invest in the promise of these young people to lead and partner with their communities in substance use prevention. A recent $20,000 donation from NEXUS Gas Transmission is being put to use to help build new or develop stronger youth-led prevention efforts through a two-year infusion of grant funding as well as training and technical assistance for the adults guiding young people in this work.

Ohioans living in Appalachia have been greatly impacted by the destruction of the national opiate epidemic. These grants, will invest not only in prevention strategies designed to reach young people, but also in the ability of young people to lead effective prevention efforts themselves. Funding from NEXUS will help to support training and technical assistance in Columbiana County through a collaboration with Steel Valley FCA, the Columbiana County ESC, and Family Recovery Center, as well as support Personal and Family Counseling Services in Carroll County in their efforts to grow youth-led prevention of substance use in their community.

“FAO has always believed in the children of Appalachia,” said FAO’s President and CEO, Cara Dingus Brook. “As we partner with our communities to tackle some of our greatest challenges, we know that our youngest citizens have an incredible ability to lead. We have great hopes for the ways these young people can make a difference for their peers and their communities, in particular around issues of substance use.”

The grant is an opportunity to engage more of Appalachian Ohio’s young people as leaders in the identification and implementation of evidence-based prevention strategies.

“Our partnership with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio is anchored in our commitment to support, bolster and grow healthy, successful communities where we live and operate,” said NEXUS spokesman Mitchell McKerlie. “We are pleased to support FAO’s youth-led prevention program and their unrelenting efforts in fighting the opioid crisis in Appalachia.”

With these grants, the Foundation will work with Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs to build upon their track record of growing youth-led prevention across Ohio by expanding efforts in the state’s Appalachian region.

“We are excited for this opportunity to help more communities develop youth-led prevention efforts to combat substance use,” said Ohio University President Duane Nellis. “Our youth-led prevention work has been powerful and we have hoped to do more of it here in our Appalachian Ohio region. This partnership with the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio is an exciting collaboration in service of the region.”

With additional partnership and support from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Prevention Action Alliance, grantees will work with partners that stretch beyond Appalachian Ohio.

Grantees include organizations, schools, and communities across the region who will either initiate local, youth-led prevention programs or ground existing programs in an evidence-based approach. Grantees include:

  • The Ashtabula County MHRS Board/Prevention Coalition in Ashtabula County for the Ashtabula County Youth Coalition Project
  • The Brown County Educational Service Center in Brown County for the Teens on Target for the Future Program
  • The Gallia Citizens for Prevention and Recovery (Gallia CPR) in Gallia County for Gallia Citizens for Prevention and Recovery Teen Coalition
  • The Logan-Hocking School District in Hocking County to support the Youth-Led Initiative
  • Personal and Family Counseling Services in Carroll County to support Youth-Led Prevention
  • OSU Extension in Vinton County to support Vinton County Youth Engaging in Action
  • The Vincentian Ohio Action Network in Muskingum County to support the Zanesville Think Tank on Poverty Youth Council
  • Belmont County Student Services in Belmont County to support Youth Leading the Way
  • Perry Behavioral Health Choices, in partnership with the Perry County OSU Extension, to support Youth-Led Prevention in Perry County
  • Woodsfield Kiwanis Club, in partnership with the Switzerland of Ohio Local School District, in Monroe County, to support Project: Hope.

Each of the grantees will receive $5,000 over two years, training and technical assistance for adult facilitators of youth-led programming, and the support of fellow grantees who are guiding youth leaders in the region.

Additionally, FAO will support capacity-building grants to develop additional understanding around youth-led prevention in local communities, like the dollars supporting the Family Recovery Center in Columbiana County.

“Strengthening Youth-Led Prevention” is the first grant initiative through the Foundation’s new Health & Human Services Pillar Fund for Appalachian Ohio. In a region long plagued by a philanthropy gap that leaves Appalachian Ohio with nine times fewer philanthropic resources than the rest of the state, FAO has launched the Pillars of Prosperity to create and invest the kind of flexible, strategic funds most needed in the region’s communities. Each fund focuses on one of five areas essential to a vibrant and prosperous region – Arts & Culture, Community & Economic Development, Education, Environmental Stewardship, and Health & Human Services.

“Our communities have long needed flexible resources that can adapt to our region’s greatest needs and most exciting opportunities,” shared Brook. “That’s why the Pillars of Prosperity were created and it’s promising to see this first effort take on such a crucial issue. It’s only been possible because of the partners who have helped us reach this milestone.”

Gifts to FAO’s Health & Human Services Pillar are tax deductible and can be made in a number of ways, including cash, gifts in wills, and life insurance. To make a donation, please designate the Health and Human Services Pillar and mail to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, PO Box 456, Nelsonville, OH 45764. Donations can also be made online by visiting the online giving page on our website.

To learn more about how you can support a cause close to your heart, visit or call 740.753.1111.


About the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio

The Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) is a regional community foundation serving the 32 counties of Appalachian Ohio. A 501(c)(3) public charity, the Foundation creates opportunities for Appalachian Ohio’s citizens and communities by inspiring and supporting philanthropy. For more information about FAO, visit


About NEXUS Gas Transmission

The NEXUS Pipeline is an approximately 256-mile natural gas pipeline that runs from eastern Ohio to existing pipeline system interconnects in southeastern Michigan. NEXUS serves as a foundation for future regional growth in Ohio and Michigan by providing increased access to reliable, affordable and much needed supplies of natural gas to heat and power homes and industry.

To learn more about NEXUS Gas Transmission, please visit