||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
UW-Eau Claire Program|
Receives DOT Grant
MAILED: Jan. 8, 1999|
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation has awarded the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire College of Arts and Sciences Continuing Education Office $360,000 to direct a statewide initiative aimed at curbing underage drinking.
The funds, which came to Wisconsin through a United States Justice Department grant, will be used by the continuing education office to coordinate efforts against underage drinking and develop an influential peer leadership program, said Doug Stevens, director of continuing education and the statewide project director for the program.
"We want to connect one another, share the resources and develop new partnerships," Stevens said. "We also want to help the current efforts and provide the needed infrastructure for collaboration."
The "Combating Underage Drinking Program," which will run through May 31, 2000, also aims at involving the youth in efforts against underage drinking, he said.
"They should lead this effort," he said. "We want to get away from doing things for the youth and start doing things with the youth."
There are different ways of involving youth in the program, one of which is through the distribution of local grants, Stevens said.
"In the past it's been the case where youth have donated their time in programs like this but didn't get paid," he said. "Now they will be rewarded for their dedication. The more opportunities for youth to be involved with this program, the better chance there will be at making an impact in the state."
A January 1998 National Institute of Mental Health report noted juveniles who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol addiction than those who began drinking at age 21. Wisconsin DOT statistics for 1997 further noted that 12 percent of all drinking drivers involved in crashes on state roadways were minors.
"Our goal with this program is to have a statewide impact on underage drinking," Stevens said. "We're excited to be coordinating this effort."
For more information, contact the Arts and Sciences Continuing Education Office at (715) 836-2031.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Jan. 13, 1999