The Village for Families & Children’s Partnership for Success Program in Vernon Awarded $1.5 Million Federal Grant

October 7, 2019

The Village for Families & Children is excited to announce the expansion of their Partnership for Success program (also known as the Vernon ROCKS Coalition) through a $1.5 million federal grant from the Substance and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) over the next five years.

This expansion of Vernon ROCKS, a collaboration of community stakeholders, parents and youth focused on preventing underage substance abuse in Vernon, will launch the new Manchester Vernon Prevention Partnership (MVPP). In partnership with the Change Collaborative of Manchester, MVPP will work to reduce underage drinking and increase prevention program work in the towns of Vernon and Manchester.

“The Village is excited to continue the great work we’ve done in Vernon through the Vernon ROCKS Coalition, and to partner with Manchester in this new project. This critical funding from SAMHSA allows us to help even more children and families stay on a healthy, successful path,” said Galo Rodriguez, CEO and president of The Village.

“We look forward to continuing this effective partnership with our neighboring town of Manchester and with SAMHSA,” said Daniel Champagne, mayor of Vernon. “Together we are making a positive impact on our youth and promoting awareness and resiliency in our communities.”

“This grant could not be more timely and relevant given the challenges teenagers face daily,” added Scott Shanley, general manager of the Town of Manchester. “We are pleased to be working across town borders to improve the well-being of our children.”

This expansion will help bring Vernon ROCKS and the Change Collaborative’s prevention efforts into schools. MVPP will implement a life-skills curriculum for high schoolers and a transition program for 8th graders to combat social and underage drinking issues that can occur in high school. MVPP will also create media campaigns targeting teens and parents to help educate them about underage drinking.

“This new initiative will amplify our substance abuse prevention efforts and create stronger communities by increasing protective factors and reducing risks for youth,” said Kaitlin Carafa, MVPP project director at The Village. “Our goal is to help even more young people and families thrive, and partnering with the Change Collaborative allows us to do just that.”

MVPP will form an Advisory Board focused on increasing program capacity and substance abuse prevention efforts. In the coming years, the Board will expand to include new member sectors that tackle housing, employment and financial stability. The group will also develop a Youth Advisory Board modeled after the Vernon ROCKS Real Talk youth initiative and the Change Coalition’s FACTS group to engage local youth leaders.

“We’re looking forward to raising awareness about substance abuse among youth, while educating parents about the issues teens are facing,” said Sheridan Douglass, project program coordinator at Manchester Youth Service Bureau.

Through this initiative, The Village will be partnering with the Manchester and Vernon Youth Service Bureaus, Manchester and Vernon Police Departments, and Manchester and Rockville High Schools to coordinate and execute programming.

Pictured above: Manchester Vernon Prevention Partnership leaders (l-r): Sharon Kozey (director, Manchester Youth Service Bureau), Sheridan Douglass (project program coordinator, Manchester Youth Service Bureau), Kaitlin Carafa (MVPP program director, The Village), and Michelle Hill (director, Vernon Youth Services)

About The Village: For more than 200 years, The Village for Families & Children has been working to build a community of strong, healthy families who protect and nurture children. We fulfill this mission by providing a continuum of behavioral health treatment and support services for children and adults, including parenting education classes, a nationally accredited preschool, outpatient mental health therapy, substance abuse treatment, intensive residential treatment, and foster care and adoption.  For more information, visit or call 860-236-4511.

About the Vernon ROCKS Coalition: The Coalition is a collaboration of community stakeholders, parents, youth, and volunteers, whose focus is to prevent the use of drugs and alcohol in Vernon’s youth by promoting protective factors and decreasing risk factors that contribute to substance use. The mission of Vernon ROCKS is to provide “Resources & Outreach for Community Knowledge & Success.” For more information, visit our website:, like us on Facebook, or call 860-236-4511 x3785.

About the Change Collaborative: The Change Collaborative of Manchester works to build a vibrant, safe and healthy community for youth through substance prevention. The organization runs two groups that meet regularly to work on grassroots initiatives to engage youth and the community at large to raise awareness of alcohol and drug abuse. Their youth group, FACTS, is comprised of local teens who plan initiatives geared towards raising awareness of substance abuse among their peers.

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