BPAC to offer new scholarship to Burrillville student with record fighting substance abuse

BPAC Coordinator Monica Blanchette

BURRILLVILLE – The Burrillville Prevention Action Coalition will offer a new scholarship this year to a Burrillville High School graduate who has participated in one of two clubs that work in substance abuse prevention.

The scholarship will go to a 2020 senior who is a member of either Varsity Athletes Against Substance Abuse or Students Against Destructive Decisions.

Applicants will have to have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and be attending a four year college or university. Proof of a minimum of 60 hours of community service will also be required.

“It’s our giveback to them when they head off to college,” noted Burrillville Police Col. Stephen Lynch at a BPAC meeting in November.

Funding for the scholarship was made available through BPAC’s 5K, a walk/run held for the first time in 2019 through the streets of Burrillville. The organization raised some $3,600 through the event and its sponsors: Wright’s Farm Restaurant, Daniele Inc., INFORCE, the Burrillville School Committee, and the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Now, that money will go to Burrillville students who have shown a commitment to BPAC’s mission. The organization, formed in 2018 through the Burrillville Police Department, supports prevention initiatives aimed at local youth and adults.

“This scholarship is important because it will recognize the students who have been engaged in efforts to promote healthy lifestyle choices throughout the community and to prevent substance use amongst their peers,” said Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator Monica Blanchette.  “This type of community engagement is directly in line with BPAC’s mission and objectives.”

The award will be the first scholarship run through BPAC, and Blanchette said the organization hopes to make it annual. Planning for this year’s 5K is already underway, with the event to take place in late September.

Blanchette said BPAC members are still in the process of deciding how much college funding the winning student, or students, will receive.

“It is important to recognize that most of our youth do not engage in substance use and being able to shine a light on those who actively have chosen not to use substances helps to establish more positive cultural norms in our community,” said Blanchette.

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