READING, June 11, 2015 – Berks County communities working to help teenagers and young adults better understand the consequences of drinking and alcohol abuse today received nearly $260,000 in grants from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Sen. Judy Schwank, Rep. Tom Caltagirone, and PLCB Chairman Tim Holden announced the grant recipients today during a press conference at Penn State-Berks. Representatives from area colleges and municipal governments joined them.

“Our purpose here today is not to take credit, get attention, or seek congratulations,” Sen. Schwank said. “Instead, we gather here today to share some great news: three of our local colleges and universities, two local governments, two police forces, and one school district have been awarded nearly $260,000 in grants from the PLCB to better help our children who might be tempted by underage drinking.”

“With the PLCB’s help, these Berks County communities and organizations will use these new investments to make lives better for minors, their families and the neighborhoods they call home,” Rep. Caltagirone said. “‘Drink Responsibly’ is a marketing slogan that is too often ignored by minors and these funds will be used to raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of underage drinking.”

The PLCB is awarding nearly $2.3 million in grants to organizations statewide. In Berks County, eight awards are headed to the following:

Kutztown University – $40,000

Kutztown School District – $40,000

Kutztown Borough – $32,622

Wyomissing Borough Police – $25,536

Alvernia University – $40,000

Penn State Berks Campus Police – $21,817

Albright College – $39,793

Spring Township Police Department – $19,108

Today’s announcement is nearly 60 percent greater than the PLCB’s investment two years ago when just Kutztown University ($40,000), Kutztown Borough ($36,615), Albright College ($27,254), Wyomissing Borough PD ($24,478), and PSU-Berks ($20,065) received grants.

Grant recipients will invest the PLCB dollars in efforts that involve training, law enforcement patrols, and other prevention programs.

Schwank said alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the U.S. and is responsible for more than 4,300 annual deaths among underage drinkers. Every year, she added, hospitals across the country are visited by thousands of underage persons for alcohol related incidents.

“The value of Pennsylvania’s liquor store system is evidenced by the investment made today in our Berks County communities,” Caltagirone said. “These grants represent significant backing and education for our children and the places we call home.”

“I want local residents and officials to know that though the statistics are daunting, real work is being done to educate students and young people about the dangers of illegal and dangerous alcohol use,” Schwank said. “These participants that have gathered here today are working to ensure that our community is a safe one where alcohol is consumed responsibly and legally.”

The other participants joining Caltagirone, Schwank and Holden included:

  • Dr. Keith Hillkirk and Chief Kevin Rudy from Penn State Berks
  • Dr. Lex O. McMillan III, Albright College
  • Dr. Joe Cicala, vice president of university life at Alvernia University
  • Dr. Carlos Vargas, Kutztown University
  • Dr. Ed Meyers and Mr. Barry Flicker, Kutztown School District
  • Chief Jeffrey Beihl, Wyomissing Police, and
  • Kutztown Mayor Sandra Green