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ASAP campers reach fundraising goal

Last week, members of Allies for Substance Abuise Prevention–or ASAP–of Anderson County, joined by community leaders, camped out on the front steps of the Courthouse in Clinton to raise money to fill a $33,000 funding gap to start a Family Drug Treatment Court in Anderson County.

ASAP had already been awarded about $47,000 in funding by the United Way of Anderson County, the city of Rocky Top and Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary, but would have had to return those funds if they had not been able to reach their goal. We are happy to report that the $33,000 goal was met on Friday afternoon, and that after 97 hours in the elements, ASAP’s Stephanie Strutner and Stacy Pratt were able to return to their own beds.

The Family Drug Treatment Court program is geared toward rehabilitating not only adolescents through the Juvenile Court system, but their entire family unit. The program has been in development for several years and is based on best practices from around the country.

The challenge that pushed the donations to the finish line was issued by Rocky Top City Manager, Michael Foster. Foster challenged the community to come up with $2,600 overnight and he would jump in the Clinch River. Not only did the community meet that challenge, it was far exceeded. Foster did jump into the chilly waters of the Clinch on Friday morning, and then, he issued another challenge to fil the funding gap by close of business on Friday and, in return, Strutner and Pratt, the week-long camping warriors, would jump in too. That occurred late Friday afternoon.

In a press release announcing the successful end to the fundraising drive, ASAP’s Board of Directors, staff members, coalition members, and volunteers sqaid that they “would like to thank everyone who participated in any way in this campaign for their incredible support!”

For more information on the Family Drug Treatment Court or ASAP in general, you can visit www.asapofanderson.org.

(ASAP press release) ASAP staff, along with key community leaders, camped at the courthouse this week, during Red Ribbon Week to raise money to fill the funding gap for the Family Drug Treatment Court Program for Anderson County.

The program had been granted funds totaling over $47,000 by the United Way of Anderson County, The City of Rocky Top, and the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary; however, the money was going to have to be returned without securing an additional $33,000.

“The Family Drug Treatment Court has been under development for a number of years, based on best practices from across the country,” said Stephanie Strutner, Executive Director of ASAP. “This is too important to let go.” The program is geared toward rehabilitating not only adolescents through the Juvenile Court system, but their entire family unit.

This desperate plea initiated quite the community response, both through the media and online. “People drove here from as far as Loudon County to bring donations and to thank us for the work we are doing,” said Strutner.

The idea for the Family Drug Treatment Court has been well-received by the community. Stacey Pratt, Project Director for ASAP came up with the unique idea after attending a public relations training at the United Way of Anderson County. “I know Stephanie hates to camp, but I just told her I knew she was willing to do anything to fund this program and this is what we had to do,” said Pratt.

Juvenile Court Judge Brian Hunt said “this program offers the possibility to break the generational cycle of substance abuse many of our juvenile offenders experience. It also offers hope; hope that these adolescents can stay out of jail as adults and become contributing members of their community.”

Strutner said, “we have been blown away by the incredible support this community has shown. People have come from far and wide. In a time in which the news is covered with stories of overdose and drug crimes, we now have an opportunity to make a real difference and reveal the hope that lies within our community. What is so cool is this is now truly community-owned.”

The challenge that pushed the donations to the finish line was issued by Rocky Top City Manager, Michael Foster. Foster challenged the community to come up with $2,600 overnight and he would jump in the Clinch River. Not only did the community meet that challenge, it was far exceeded. He then issued another challenge to fil the funding gap by close of business on Friday and Stephanie Strutner and Stacey Pratt, the week-long camping warriors, would jump in too.

The week of camping came to an end after 97 hours, almost 4 and half days, as the weary campers made a splash in the Clinch River: this splash will be felt in this community for years to come. The ASAP Board of Directors, staff, coalition, and volunteers would like to thank everyone who participated in any way in this campaign for their incredible support!

The Family Drug Treatment Court offers an opportunity to not only save money, but save families and save lives. To learn more about ASAP of Anderson County or the Family Drug Treatment Court, visit www.ASAPofAnderson.org.

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH’s News & Sports Director since 2000.
In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys’ and girls’ basketball and baseball.
Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:20 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA.
Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, his mother-in-law and cats Lucius and Oliver.

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