Youth Task Force receives $212,800 Tower Foundation Grant

The Dukes County Health Council Youth Task Force (YTF) has received a three-year grant totaling $212,800 from The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation.

The funding will be used to facilitate “Project Next,” a project that will provide support to the young adult population of 18- to 26-year-olds on Martha’s Vineyard through a variety of programs and initiatives, according to a press release.

The project will begin with a series of focus groups and assessments as well as open office hours to provide financial and career counseling. Project Next will expand in the following years to include speaker series events, co-sponsored substance-free events and an employment-based mentoring program.

The Youth Task Force is a coalition of over 50 community members working together to help kids make healthy decisions. Since 2004, the Youth Task Force has been awarded over $1.4 million in state, federal, and private grant funding to implement evidence-based practices to address the high rates of underage drinking and drug abuse in the high school population.

The Youth Task Force reports that as a result of this work, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School drinking rates have decreased 13 percent since 2007. “This new funding provides the YTF with the opportunity to expand their efforts to an older age group and expand collaborative efforts with existing Island Agencies including Vineyard House, Vineyard Health Care Access Program, YMCA of MV and the Martha’s Vineyard Regional School District,” YTF said.

The Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation was formed in December 31, 1990. Foundation support is given to nonprofit organizations in Erie and Niagara counties in New York and Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, and Nantucket Counties in Massachusetts. The Foundation’s four key areas of interest are mental health, substance abuse, intellectual disabilities and learning disabilities. Ensuring that children, adolescents, and young adults who face these obstacles achieve their full potential remains The Foundation’s highest priority.