Thursday, December 19, 2019

Healthy Acadia Announces Mini-Grant Opportunity for Community Partners to Expand Youth Substance Prevention Initiatives

Healthy Acadia is thrilled to announce a recent grant award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the Downeast Maine Partnerships for Success (PFS) initiative, a collaborative effort among multiple partners throughout Washington and Hancock counties, coordinated by Healthy Acadia, to prevent youth substance use. The award will support a five-year expansion of community-driven, collective efforts to prevent substance use and promote the health and well-being of youth aged 9 to 20 throughout the region.

Healthy Acadia and PFS partners will implement multiple strategies using the evidence-based Icelandic Model for youth substance prevention and tailored to the needs and opportunities in rural Downeast Maine, to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors associated with youth substance use, specifically alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. Key objectives of the five-year project include increasing parental/caregiver, school, and community awareness of and capacity to reduce risk factors and increase protective factors associated with youth substance use through implementation of a comprehensive evidence-based approach; and implementing evidence-based programs, policies and practices to increase protective factors and decrease risk factors for substance use among youth ages 9-20 years. 

Healthy Acadia has earmarked $100,000 per year of the PFS grant to provide mini-grants of $1,000 to $10,000 to community groups, such as schools, community centers, and non-profit organizations, that seek to partner with Healthy Acadia around supporting positive social development, resilience, peer-based mental health support, and/or structured, pro-social activities to support substance use prevention for youth ages 9-20 years. 

Healthy Acadia has hired Sara McConnell as the Coordinator for the PFS expansion project. “I am so thrilled with the opportunities this funding creates to provide support and create positive social interactions and activities for youth in our region,” said McConnell. Sara's background includes over 10 years of extensive community health prevention programming experience in Downeast Maine, including substance use and tobacco prevention, nutrition education, as well as positive youth development. This makes her a wonderful fit for this new role, which is focused on implementing community-driven, collaborative efforts to prevent substance use and promote the health of youth across Washington and Hancock counties. 

The mini-grant application process for groups interested in partnering to prevent youth substance use is now available. For more information, and to view the request for proposals, visit Healthy Acadia’s website:, or contact Maria Donahue, Project Director, at 207-667-7171 or or Sara McConnell, Project Coordinator, at 207-255-3741 or Applications are due by Friday, January 24, 2020.  

Healthy Acadia is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that engages in a broad range of initiatives to build healthier communities and make it easier for people to lead healthy lives across Washington and Hancock counties, Maine. Learn more at

This project is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) under Partnerships for Success Grant # 1H79SP081695. Learn more by visiting or by calling 877-SAMHSA-7.