The vision for Upper Merion Area Community Alliance for a Safer Tomorrow (CAST) is a healthy, safe, drug-free community.
The mission of CAST is to prevent substance abuse and violence by promoting the development of pro-social attitudes and behaviors among youth and their families and to generate among youth a realistic awareness of negative peer, community, and societal influences and knowledge of how to effectively contend with them.
• Improve mental health of youth in the community; decrease depression factors.
• Decrease peer rewards for anti-social behavior.
• Challenge students' perceptions regarding risk of harm of substance use.
CAST has been an official coalition since 2007 and is now in its seventh year of funding by a Drug Free Community (DFC) Grant from the federal government. The purpose of the grant is to help mobilize the community to address and prevent youth substance abuse. According to the federal government, local problems need local solutions. The government requires that community coalitions must include 12 sectors of the community:
• Youth-Serving Organizations
|• Law Enforcement
• Religious/Fraternal Organizations
• Civic/Volunteer Groups
• Healthcare Professionals
• Other Substance Abuse Organizations
As you can see, it is vital for the community to get involved in CAST's efforts!
Click here for information on our sectors and partners.
All organizations that receive DFC grants are required to focus on and collect
data on four core measures related to substance abuse including 30-day use,
age of onset, perception of risk/harm of drug use, and perception of parental
disapproval of drug use. DFC grantees are required to report this information
every two years in three grades (6th-12th). CAST fulfills this requirement by
administering the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) every two years to
students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12, and the information we receive from it is
vital to our planning and prevention efforts. The anonymous survey asks
personal questions regarding usage of weapons, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and
other substances. The survey also gathers information regarding factors that
increase the risk of children in our community using drugs and alcohol (risk
factors). In addition, the survey measures strengths in our community that
protect children from alcohol and drug usage (protective factors).
For more information, press RISKS/STATS button above, or click here.
Click here to get involved in CAST.