Grant to help with mentoring program; fight is against opioid crisis

STEUBENVILLE — More than $100,000 in federal grant money is headed to the city to set up a mentoring program for young children from home situations impacted by the opioid crisis.

Parks and Recreation Director Lori Featherolf said Steubenville is one of only five cities to receive the funding, awarded through a federal grant to the National Parks and Recreation Association.

The grant award — $10,000 in year one to cover set-up costs, including a needs assessment and training, then another $50,000 each of the next two years — is aimed at combating the damage opioids are doing in Appalachian communities.

Featherolf said being one of the five cities to get the funding is “a huge privilege.”

“I’m very excited,” she said. “These opportunities don’t come along very often. It’s a huge win for the kids in the community.”

Featherolf said there will be an educational component — a group discussion covering topics including building trust, communication skills, self-esteem, positive role models, responsibility and honesty — followed by a physical activity.

“This first year, they’ll come in and train us, do the needs assessment and train myself and the staff,” she said. “The next two years they’ll start the program and connect the dots.”

She said Steubenville was up against Appalachia communities in parts of Ohio, parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia and North Carolina, and all of West Virginia.

“I think it shows a need here, and I’m more than willing to take on the project,” she said.

Featherolf said the needs assessment will be done between May and July.

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