Western Tidewater Community Services Board receives VTSF grant

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 8, 2004

Staff report

Western Tidewater Community Services Board’s Prevention Services received a $68,867 grant from the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation (VTSF) to implement violence prevention and resiliency training geared toward the most impressionable youth, preschoolers.

WTCSB is excited about the opportunity to partner with the VTSF to incorporate a program that has been honored by the U.S Department of Education and selected as a model program by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.

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Al’s Pals, consisting of puppets with a message, will be part of the curriculum at Head Start in the counties of Isle of Wight and Southampton, the city of Franklin, and Franklin City Schools.

Underserved rural populations were targeted initially, but there is an opportunity to extend the grant up to 5 years. WTCSB plans to include Suffolk’s Head Start in the near future.

Al’s Pals is a research based program that helps teach preschoolers how to avoid conflict and build character. Studies conducted by the distributors of Al’s Pals, Wingspan LLC, show that kids involved in the program are two to five times more likely to have lower anti-social tendencies and better social skills; indicators of success later in life.

Using puppets and songs, the 46-lesson Al’s pals program helps teach preschoolers problem solving strategies that will be useful to them through out the school years.

The VTSF grant monies will pay for the puppet kits, two days of training of forty five teachers/facilitators, a program director and other related activities, such as childcare for the parenting component of the program.

WTCSB was formed in 1968 to provide mental health, mental retardation and substance abuse services to the Western Tidewater area.

Prevention Services promotes the education of the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, as well as associated problems such as bullying, low self esteem, and poor interpersonal skills.

The Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation’s purpose is to lead a statewide effort to reduce and prevent the use of tobacco products by youth in Virginia.

WTCSB is one of 96 organizations throughout the Commonwealth that are funded by the VTSF to implement tobacco use prevention programs.

The VTSF also meets its mission through innovative research, a youth-targeted public awareness campaign, and enforcement of Virginia’s Tobacco access laws.

For more information, call (757) 942-1018