Weatherford Democrat

March 13, 2014

WC enters coalition to prevent drug, alcohol misuse


Weatherford Democrat

— A coalition is developing to encourage Weatherford College students to make positive choices when it comes to drugs and alcohol.

Tarrant County Challenge, a Fort Worth non-profit, received three five-year Community Coalition Partnership grants in 2013 through the Department of State Health Services. The funds will enable the group to have a base on three local higher education campuses: UTA, TCU and Weatherford College.

Stephanie Davenport is the Tarrant County Challenge representative at WC, and she is working to develop the “Follow Our Lead” coalition. Of the 12 sectors in “Follow Our Lead,” one must be student-led, and Davenport is already receiving positive feedback from eager students.

“Their hearts are in it,” she said.

The remaining sectors of the coalition will be made up of parents, religious/fraternal organizations, media, the business community, schools, youth-serving organizations, law enforcement, volunteers, healthcare professionals and state and local government. Together they will work toward a specific community goal – ensuring Weatherford College students make responsibly choices and are aware of the risks and dangers related to binge and underage drinking.

Davenport, along with Joe Reed, program director of Human Services/Substance Abuse Counseling, is in the data gathering stage while also enlisting volunteers to serve in different areas of the coalition. Davenport is collecting information on the use and perception of drugs and alcohol from students as well as data from the WC Police Department on traffic stops, crashes and other incidents.

The goal of “Follow Our Lead” is to promote healthy, responsible decision making.

The program began spreading this message during Safe Spring Break events held this past week on the WC campus, where drug and alcohol information was distributed and the WC police allowed students to “drive drunk” using golf carts and special goggles at the Memorial Plaza amphitheater to simulate the effects of impairment.

“Our objective is not to make people look bad, it’s to help them out,” Reed said. “We want Weatherford College to be an anchor, a safe campus.”

For more information on “Follow Our Lead,” contact Davenport at stephanie@tcchallenge.org.