United Way of Northwest Vermont receives support from Guard’s drug program

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Vermont Business Magazine United Way of Northwest Vermont (UWNWVT), an organization dedicated to improving lives in Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties, is grateful for the support of the Vermont National Guard Drug Enforcement Program to help reduce substance abuse among Vermont youth and young adults.

Technical Sergeant Mahat Abdullahi, a Vermont Air National Guard Airman, recently joined UWNWVT personnel to support the Northwest Vermont Regional Prevention Network. The Prevention Network was launched by Centraide in December 2021 as part of a 5-year strategic plan funded by a Prevention Center of Excellence (CEP) grant awarded to United Way through the Vermont Division of Substance Use Programs.

The goal of the Prevention Network is to unify the region with a holistic, comprehensive approach to substance abuse prevention and wellness promotion for youth and young adults.

In his role as Prevention Network Manager, Abdullahi focuses on building relationships and increasing participation and engagement within the network.

“The best part of my job is building relationships and collaborating with community members to solve a common problem. I view my role in the Prevention Network as an opportunity to serve my community. I am passionate about helping young people speak out on issues that affect them and making sure young people’s perspectives are included in shaping solutions when it comes to reducing substance abuse in our community,” Abdullahi said.

Abdullahi was born in Somalia and spent his early years in Kenya in a refugee camp where he made childhood friendships and enjoyed playing football. His family moved to the United States in 2008 when he was 11 years old. A graduate of Burlington High School, Abdullahi joined the Vermont National Guard in 2014 because he wanted to serve his community.

Abdullahi also serves his community as a youth soccer coach as an assistant coach for the Burlington High School Boys varsity team and under-14 girls coach for the Burlington Football Club.

“United Way of Northwest Vermont is extremely grateful for the support of the Vermont National Guard Drug Enforcement Program to the Northwest Vermont Regional Prevention Network. Mahat’s expertise, passion and relationship building skills help us advance our shared priority of reducing substance abuse and promoting the well-being of youth and young adults in our community” , said Amy Carmola, UWNWVT’s director of impact.

United Way facilitates the prevention network and provides capacity and support to multiple organizations, networks, coalitions and individuals. To date, more than 200 community members are involved in this work.

Northwestern Vermont Regional Prevention Network meetings are open to the public and are held the first Tuesday of each month from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. The next meeting will be held virtually on Tuesday, September 6e. Learn more and sign up to receive meeting invitations and updates on local prevention efforts on the United Way website: https://unitedwaynwvt.org/prevention-network.

About United Way of Northwest Vermont
United Way of Northwest Vermont (UWNWVT) unites our entire community to solve complex problems and harness the power of people to create a stronger region. We proudly serve the Chittenden, Franklin and Grand Isle counties of Vermont. United Way brings together advocates, organizations and institutions to address the community’s most pressing issues. The issues facing our region are complex; these are problems that no single organization or individual can solve – real change is possible when the nonprofit, public and private sectors work together. United Way has the networks, partnerships and strategic initiatives to improve the lives of our family, friends and neighbors. For more information or to get involved, visit unitedwaynwvt.org.

South Burlington, VT: United Way of Northwestern Vermont

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