The Erath County Community Coalition Partnership [EC3] in conjunction with STAR Council will host a free dinner at Hard 8 BBQ Tuesday with the theme “Community Conversation.”

The event takes place from 6-7:30 p.m. and the public is welcome. In fact making new friends in the community − who will hopefully become new partners in the battle against underage drinking and drug abuse − is a major reason the dinner.

The E-T asked STAR Council’s Macy Grant − who is the group’s Community Coalition coordinator – to fill our readers in on both organizations and this event. Grant explained that Star Council has been a part of the Stephenville community since 1981 and they house a prevention and treatment team.

“In the past 2.5 years we have acquired grant funding to house our Erath County Community Coalition Partnership. The main mission of the coalition is to reduce underage drinking as well as the use of marijuana and prescription pills,” Grant said.

The coalition tackles those issues through community-driven change, transforming the social and economic conditions that foster addiction and substance use, and by challenging and reforming the social norms to ensure a safer community for all.

“The focus of the Community Conversation event is to bring awareness and find community-driven solutions to the topics of substance and alcohol abuse, as well as mental health concerns and dual diagnosis,” Grant said. “We are partnering with Paving the Way, a federally-funded program that helps youth with mental health issues transition into an independent adulthood. We are also partnering with Young People in Recovery [YPR], a transitional program whose primary focus is to assist those working their recovery program with housing, education, employment and continuing recovery support.”

Grant explained that the main purpose of the event is to make contact with devoted members of Erath County that represent all sectors such as parents, youth, professionals, local and state government representatives, health professionals etc. who want to ensure the safety of the youth through community action, policy advocacy and changing social norms.

“Currently we work with YPR, Paving the Way and the 20th Century Club, but we are always looking for new partnership opportunities,” Grant said.

The 20th Century Club, by the way, identifies programs that help young children gain an appreciation for the arts and hosts the annual Children’s Fine Arts Benefit and Silent Auction.

“The main idea we wish to get across is that we are more powerful as a united community and by shifting the power from one group to a whole we can be more successful in tackling concerns regarding substance use/abuse and mental health issues," Grant said. "We are always striving to increase our youth membership and outreach. We feel it is vital to our efforts to have the youth’s voices heard in order to best serve them.”

Asked how people might make donations to support their mission, Grant replied, “The best form of donations is to be involved and donate your time and efforts. However, if someone wishes to donate monetarily they can write a check payable to STAR council and in the memo line add in – EC3 donation.”

If you are interested in the coalition Grant says you are welcome to visit a monthly meeting hosted at The Agave Grill every second Monday at noon.

For more information, contact Grant at mgrant@starcouncil.org or 817-907-6317.