Who We Are
The Coalition for Drug-Free Youth was created in 2012 as a Community Prevention and Wellness Initiative (CPWI) organization dedicated to preventing alcohol and other drug abuse among middle and high school students in unincorporated White Center and the North Highline areas of King County, specifically, Cascade Middle School and the three schools that comprise the Evergreen Campus.
Through a series of programs and projects implemented in collaboration with Coalition partners on Campus and the community, we seek to provide youth with positive alternatives to alcohol, tobacco and drug use. These include Parent Nights and Open Houses at the Middle and High Schools, health fairs on-campus and in the community, support and sponsorship of Prevention Teams and activities on-campus, community-wide media campaigns, community meetings and surveys.
School programs at Cascade Middle School and Evergreen Campus are facilitated by a Navos Prevention/Intervention Specialists (PI's) and a Student Assistant employed by Puget Sound Educational Service District (PSESD).
The White Center/North Highline community is rich in the cultural diversity that comes with a mix of refugees and immigrants, people of color, ethnicity, country of origin and spoken languages. It's a youthful community, with more than 40% of children and teens in King County living in South King County.
This diversity also creates the challenge of engaging community members in school and community activities outside of their respective ethnic enclaves. The majority of immigrants and refugees speak a language other than English at home: most common being Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese and Khmer/ Cambodian. Long-standing but smaller numbers of Pacific Islanders and African Americans are seeing an influx of immigrants from other African and Arabic countries.
High levels of poverty, limited access to health care, limited employment opportunities, a lack of community unity, cohesion and cross-cultural differences characterize the region. There is also a lack of communications tools local to the community and in the various languages.
As with many communities with similar demographics, factors beyond economics put students at higher risk of substance use, including low attachment to community, lower academic levels, and a lack of commitment to school. As an example, eighth graders in the Highline School District are at higher risk for substance use than students in King County overall.
And while the community is not zoned for any recreational marijuana outlets, a number of medical marijuana dispensaries have settled in White Center’s main business district, raising concerns about youth access to marijuana and changing community norms supporting drug use.
Still, the community benefits from various programs and services, both in the community and through the Highline School District, aimed at providing families and youth with healthy and wise alternatives to substance use.