Missoula County has received a five-year federal grant to fund the Frenchtown Community Coalition.

The coalition is one of 147 communities nationwide to receive a new Drug-Free Communities Support Program grant. Coalition coordinator Gypsy Ray said on Thursday, October 10, that the funds are needed in Frenchtown to help young people find something to do, besides drinking or partying.

"We don't have any entertainment activities in our community," Ray said. "There's no movie theaters, no bowling alleys, so what happens is that kids end up doing activities like throwing parties and keggers up in the woods and having fight clubs and things like that."

Ray said the bulk of the $123,461 per year will go to salaries and expenses for the newly formed Frenchtown Community Coalition. She expressed gratitude that Frenchtown High School has provided her with office space.

"The most exciting thing for me is that Frenchtown High School actually has given me an office, along with unlimited support and access to the kids in the school, K-12" Ray said. "And in Frenchtown, the schools are the hub of the community."

The goals of the Frenchtown Community Coalition include strengthening community collaboration to prevent and reduce substance abuse among youth and to address community factors that increase the risk of substance abuse, along with promoting factors to minimize that risk.

Coalition Coordinator Gypsy Ray