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Springfield, U.S.A. – In February, the proposed elimination of Illinois ’s entire $2.6 million youth drug prevention budget by Governor Pat Quinn caught the attention of Highland Park resident Larry Goodman, who unsuccessfully advocated against the cut, but eventually reached for his own checkbook to help save youth drug prevention in Illinois.
Goodman, who along with his late wife, Lillian, founded the Skokie-based Cebrin Goodman Center, has committed $1.1 million to a Springfield-based youth drug prevention program, the Illinois Teen Institute, which will now be known as the Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute.
The three-year, $1.1 million drug prevention grant is equal to 64% of $1.6 million of Illinois drug prevention money that the Illinois General Assembly ended up cutting in the final state fiscal year 2013 budget, which began on July 1.
In fiscal year 2008, Illinois spent $7.5 million on youth drug prevention.
“Illinois is facing a deadly teen heroin epidemic that is roiling Chicago’s suburbs and downstate Illinois, and that is why I stepped up to help,” said Goodman, whose granddaughter, Cebrin, died of a drug overdose. “It is unconscionable that the governor and lawmakers could cut youth drug prevention money in the midst of this heroin crisis that is terrorizing the suburbs and downstate Illinois.”
“The days of heroin use being confined to the wrong people in the wrong places are gone. It is a plague of all communities, all incomes and all children,” said Wayne Hunter, Lake County sheriff chief of administration, Daily Herald, January 31, 2012.
The newly minted Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute, which will be administered by the Springfield-based Illinois Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Association (IADDA), will take over, in part, where the State of Illinois is in retreat. Additionally, a portion of the funds will go to support Operation Snowball, a drug prevention program also operated by IADDA.
“We will be able to dramatically expand our outreach to high school students throughout Illinois and provide drug prevention programming to thousands of youth who would otherwise now be overlooked because of the Illinois budget cuts,” said CGTI Program Manager Sarah Potter.
The new Cebrin Goodman Teen Institute will be officially launched with hundreds of Illinois high school students at the start of this year’s Teen Institute conference in Bloomington on Sunday, July 22. The conference will be held at Illinois Wesleyan University July 22 through July 26.