Playing sports and getting involved in after-school activities helps youth occupy their time in a more valuable way than using electronic devices for hours.

The Coaches 4 Kids Foundation started the Playground Takeover Project in 2013. We started this program to create safe havens around the Johnstown area.

Our goals were very simple.

We wanted our children to stay healthy, both mentally and physically.

We want them to use their time wisely. We want them to make new friend-ships and build their confidence up.

Drugs, alcohol and addiction are killing and threatening our youth every day in the streets. We have to take a stand as a community.

The Coaches 4 Kids Foundation has been helped in its work by the Cambria County Drug Coalition, CareerLink, Goodwill Industries, the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies and many other special groups and individuals, including the Rev. Sylvia

King and Councilwoman Marie Mock as well as the United Neighborhoods Community.

Also, all who have been very instrumental in the battle for justice and change in developing means to save our children.

We share in the same mission as the Cambria County Drug Coalition, of which I have been a member since its inception.

In closing, I would like to add that this summer, the Coaches 4 Kids Foundation will be opening a new playground at Roxbury Park.

Other sites are at the Wood Street Playground and the Park Avenue Playground.

The hours will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at each site.

The supervisors will be Theresa Gunby at Wood Street and Mr. and Mrs. John Orlosky at the Roxbury site.

We are waiting to name someone for the Park Avenue site.

Tony Penna Sr., a football and baseball coach for 42 years, founded the Coaches 4 Kids foundation in the Johnstown area in 2013.

Demonstrate commitment to positive change

The Cambria County Drug Coalition identifies the Drug-Free Communities Support Program’s endorsement and implementation

of environmental approaches to substance use prevention.

The success of environmental substance use prevention lies in weaving together a set of complementary strategies that focus on creating change for the entire community.

Environmental change strategies include policies intended to reduce access; increase enforcement of laws; change physical design to reduce risk or increase protection; engage neighborhoods and parents in changing social norms concerning substance use; and support policies that promote opportunities and access for positive youth activity and support.

Substance use prevention efforts are most successful when individual-level and environmental-level strategies reinforce each other, resulting in a complementary alignment of community norms, practices and policies.