Navos to launch Community Coalition for Drug Free Youth

Navos Mental Health Solutions, a private non-profit with locations in West Seattle and Burien, is putting together a group of businesses, citizens, non-profits and government agencies to launch a Community Coalition for Drug Free Youth, aimed at reducing drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse in the Highline School District and White Center/Burien communities, according to Rudy Garza, the coalition coordinator for Navos.

Garza said the coalition will be primarily focused on working with teens at Cascade Middle School and the Evergreen Campus, but services will be available to all area teens. The program is tentatively set to launch in March of 2013, with youth surveys and coalition meetings in the coming months to create a plan.

Over 25 different organizations are currently on board, and Garza said they will be adding students and parents soon (see his contact information below for more information).

· King County Housing Authority

· Community Schools Collaboration

· Boys and Girls Club


· White Center Rec & Park

· White Center Community Development Association

· Café Rozella

· Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant

· Neighborhood House

· Burien Police Dept.

· King County Sheriff’s Dept. – Greenbridge Storefront

· King County Sheriff’s Dept. -- White Center Community Service Center

· King County Library System—Burien, White Center branches

· Khmer Community Center – Seattle-King County

· Burien Rec & Parks

· YES Foundation

· New Futures

· Highline Medical Group

· US Bank – White Center Branch

· Kiki Corona Fashion & More

· Liquor Control Board – White Center Enforcement & Education

· White Center Food Bank

· Community Arts Create

· Triangle Pub

· Southwest Youth & Family Services

· Fardus Grimes -- Somali community

· Cascade Middle School and the Evergreen High School campus

· Students and parents will be recruited once the school year has begun

Here is the official announcement from Navos:
Navos Mental Health Solutions announced it received a King County grant to create a community-based coalition for drug free youth in the Burien/White Center communities and has appointed communications veteran Rudy Garza as Coalition Coordinator.

Navos has been responding to the needs of people with mental illness in King County for over 40-years. Its services are targeted to those who live at or near poverty, often as a result of their mental illness. The mission of Navos is to improve the quality of life of people vulnerable to mental illness by providing a broad continuum of care.

“As part of the work we do with youth, we saw a need to address the substance abuse-related issues among youth in the Burien/White Center community,” said Joan Zintak, Director of Adult Services. “This five-year grant allows us to collaborate with other agencies, the private and public sector, and the community at-large to better address these issues by providing alternatives.”

King County Department of Community and Human Services has awarded funding to Navos through a prevention contract from the state Department of Social and Health Services’ Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery (DBHR) as part of the federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant.

This grant is part of the statewide Prevention Redesign Initiative. It will support coalition development and prevention programming, particularly in the Shorewood neighborhood, which includes Cascade Middle School and high schools on the Evergreen campus. Puget Sound Educational Service District will also assign a Prevention-Intervention Specialist to work in this area beginning with the 2012-13 school year.

“The initial phase of the grant will focus on creating the coalition and developing a plan of action,” explained Zintak. “The process involves not only outreach but also marketing and communications and we felt that Rudy Garza provided a good balance of experience in all of these areas.”

Garza brings more than 35-years experience in marketing, public relations and communications to the coordinator position, with considerable experience in outreach, community and governmental affairs, health and non-profit organizations. Most recently he was Director of Public Relations and Business Development with Esparza+ Business Communications, a marketing agency specializing in the Hispanic market. Among its clients were health care and social service organizations.

“In the process of applying for the Block Grant, a number of local organizations committed to the coalition,” said Garza. “Additionally, another group of organizations acknowledged interest and so my initial efforts will be to increase the number of participants in the coalition.”

Organizations, private business and individuals interested in learning more about the coalition can contact Garza at Navos Mental Health Solutions, 206-439-2288 or at

Navos, a private non profit organization with four locations, delivers critical services that dramatically improve the health and quality of life for 9,000 low-income and vulnerable children and adults annually with serious persistent emotional and mental illness. Through Navos’ range of services – including mental health treatment, primary medical care, job training and supportive housing, people with mental illness are helped to reach their greatest potential for self-sufficiency.

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