Grant helps West Point to combat substance abuse with prevention | Local News

West Point Inde­pen­dent will start a new drug prevention program for elementary school students thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Lincoln Trail District Health Department.

The district of about 130 students plans to use the grant to incorporate the Too Good for Drugs curriculum into kindergarten through fourth grade, to host three community events for its families and to provide books to preschoolers through Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library.

“It’s great to have this opportunity for our kids and families,” West Point Superintendent Mickey Brangers said.

Jessica Rains, coordinator of the Family Resource and Youth Services Center, wrote the grant request. She said the curriculum works on the whole child, teaching skills to make healthy choices and to build relationships.

Through those relationships, Rains said students might find the freedom to talk about any problems they have with an adult.

“It’s critical that children have a trusted adult they can talk to,” Lincoln Trail District Health Depart­ment Director Sara Jo Best said.

For Rains, the Imagin­ation Library was important because West Point doesn’t have many options for early childhood education.

Through the program, children from birth to age 5 will receive a book once a month. Rains said about 100 children will be served by the library.

Rains said the library will help students become familiar with the school, because it provides the books.

“It will make them excited about school,” she said.

Best said early literacy has been proven to lead to better academic success later in a child’s life. It’s also important for parents or guardians to read to their children, she said, as it can bond them together and create relationships.

Community meals will be offered for families and students from all grades, Brangers said. The meals will focus on different…

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