Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) – Substance Abuse Grant

Since 1991, Downers Grove Township has been administering a substance abuse and violence prevention grant received from the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) targeting youth ages 10 to 18 within the Township boundaries. The Township encompasses the villages of: Burr Ridge, Clarendon Hills, Darien, Downers Grove, Hinsdale, Westmont and Willowbrook. Every year, Downers Grove Township submits paperwork to employ two Prevention Specialists and their programs.

Both grant employees utilize model prevention programs, coordinate and promote community and school prevention events, develop communication campaigns for parent, resident and youth outreach and participate in the development and maintenance of community coalitions to help inform parents and youth about the dangers and consequences of using and abusing substances.

The Township Prevention Specialists, in collaboration and coordination with schools, local police and various community agencies and organizations, work to support or deliver the following programs and activities:

  • Peer-led Prevention Education Life Skills Program – A prevention leadership program that provides life skills education with a focus on alcohol, tobacco and other drug information. This program is unique because Township teen leaders that apply, complete trainings, and participate in other school leadership programs present the content to the 7th and 8th grade students of participating schools.
  • Coalition Partnerships – creating and/or enhancing existing coalitions to promote more productive partnerships within the community for substance abuse prevention.
  • Communication Campaigns- Substance Abuse Prevention – Drug prevention messaging targeting parents and youth in our community.
  • Promotion of Illinois Youth Survey across the Township and County.
  • Snowball – The program offers a weekend retreat that is collaboratively organized and run by students and high school adult staff. The weekend is prevention based focusing on good decision-making, current teen issues, and positive messages on staying alcohol, tobacco, and drug free. Currently, one Township prevention specialist supports all District 99 Snowball Programs.
  • Snowflake – A day long event for seventh grade students that explore leadership and communication skills, healthy decision-making, substance abuse prevention and how to resist negative peer influences. Snowflake is a spring activity that supports the 7th grade students at O’Neill Middle School, Herrick Middle School, Lakeview Junior High, Jefferson Junior High and participating private schools.
  • Other drug prevention activities, as requested, by local schools or community organizations.

For more information about the grant, please contact:

Lauren Aramburu
Prevention Specialist
Phone: (630) 719-6684

Cathy Rager
Prevention Specialist
Phone: (630) 719-6686

Christina West
Financial Administration
Phone:(630) 719-6615

**Funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services**


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