Emily’s Hope Receives $78,000 Grant from South Dakota Opioid Settlement Fund to Expand Substance Use Prevention Curriculum

Sioux Falls, SD – Emily’s Hope is honored to announce it has been awarded a $78,000 grant from the South Dakota Opioid Settlement Fund Community Grant Program. This significant funding will support the development of the Emily’s Hope 6-12 Substance Use Prevention Curriculum, an essential extension of the organization’s already successful K-5 Substance Use Prevention Curriculum. The new curriculum aims to broaden its reach and impact, targeting students in grades 6 through 12 across South Dakota and the United States.

The grant is part of the State’s allocation from the National Settlement Agreement with Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health, McKesson, and the Bankruptcy Resolution involving Purdue Pharma, L.P., projected to bring approximately $54 million to South Dakota over 18 years for opioid abuse and misuse prevention efforts. The funds are administered by the South Dakota Department of Social Services.

Emily’s Hope, established in memory of Emily Groth, who tragically lost her life to fentanyl poisoning, is at the forefront of combating the stigma surrounding substance use disorder. The organization has been pivotal in providing financial assistance for treatment and recovery, as well as developing educational programs aimed at prevention.

The 6-12 Substance Use Prevention Curriculum is being developed by a diverse panel made up of more than 20 experts, including educators, administrators, addiction medicine specialists, and counselors. This esteemed committee includes:

  • Angela Kennecke, Founder of Emily’s Hope
  • Dr. Vivek Anand, Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist at Avera
  • Dr. Melissa Dittberner, USD Professor in Addiction Counseling & Prevention
  • Dr. Tracy Vik, Sioux Falls School District Principal
  • Tracy Nold, Sioux Falls School District High School Counselor
  • Cindy Ryan, Parent and Drug and Alcohol Counselor
  • Dr. Barbara Avery-Sterud, Retired Sioux Falls School District Administrator
  • Tiffany Thoelke, Addiction and Psychology Major – University of South Dakota
  • Katherine Newhouse, West Lyon High School Teacher
  • Doty Otten, Sioux Falls School District High School Teacher
  • Heather Conrad, Sioux Falls School District Physical Education Teacher
  • Dr. Sandra Henry, Retired Sioux Falls School District Middle School Curriculum Coordinator
  • Dawn Soulek, Clinical Social Worker, Avera Medical Group Behavioral Health Clinic
  • Jill Hall, Sioux Falls School District Special Education Teacher
  • Linden Hiller, Sioux Falls School District 4th Grade Teacher
  • Abby Danko, Baltic School District School Counselor
  • Benjamin Benson, Sanford Promise Lab Educator
  • Lindsey Gray, Sioux Falls School District 5th Grade Teacher and Curriculum, Development & Research for Emily’s Hope
  • Valerie Peters, Emily’s Hope Director of Education

Angela Kennecke expressed her gratitude and the significance of this grant: “This generous support from the South Dakota Opioid Settlement Fund Community Grant Program enables us to take a monumental step forward in our mission. By expanding our curriculum to older students, we can address the critical need for substance use education and prevention among a wider audience, potentially saving lives.”

The K-5 curriculum, currently reaching 6,000 students across four states, has set a solid foundation for substance use prevention education. With this new grant, Emily’s Hope aims to replicate and expand upon this success, offering comprehensive resources and support to educators, students, and communities nationwide.

Emily’s Hope continues to work tirelessly toward a future where substance use disorder is destigmatized, and individuals can access the help they need without barriers. The development of the 6-12 Substance Use Prevention Curriculum is a testament to the organization’s commitment to education, prevention, and making a lasting difference in the lives of young people and their families.

Editor/Producer Note:

Angela Kennecke, CEO and Founder of Emily’s Hope is available for interviews. Angela has been featured on NBC Nightly News, ABC World News Tonight, CBS This Morning, NewsNation, and dozens of other national outlets.

Over the last decade, Angela has focused many of her stories on the growing opioid crisis. Tragically, her 21-year-old daughter, Emily, died of a fentanyl overdose. In the wake of this personal loss, Angela has taken Emily’s story nationwide and internationally. She speaks tirelessly about the issues surrounding opioid addiction, a parent’s frustration, and a sense of helplessness, all from the perspective of a mother who has lost her child.

About Emily’s Hope

Emily’s Hope is a non-profit organization dedicated to removing the stigma of substance use disorder through awareness, education, and prevention; and eliminating financial barriers for treatment and recovery. Founded by Angela Kennecke in memory of her daughter Emily, Emily’s Hope has helped more than 200 people enter recovery, launched the Emily’s Hope Substance Use Prevention Curriculum for students K-5, and is developing a companion curriculum for grades 6-12.