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Mission & History

GUIDE's mission is to mobilize and equip the Gwinnett community with the information and strategies needed to promote positive youth development, improve community conditions and address other issues associated with substance use and abuse.

Mission:

The mission of Gwinnett United In Drug Education, Inc. is to mobilize and equip the Gwinnett community with the information and strategies needed to promote positive youth development, improve community conditions and address issues associated with substance use and abuse. The mission is accomplished by:

  • Educating the public about issues associated with alcohol, tobacco and other drug use and abuse;
  • Recruiting diverse partners for collaborative efforts promoting positive youth development, improving community conditions and addressing issues associated with substance use and abuse;
  • Acting as a catalyst for community development efforts that build prevention capacity; and
  • Providing consumer-focused, research-based prevention services that address local needs.

History:

GUIDE was formed in 1986 as a joint effort between the Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners and the Gwinnett County Board of Education. They wanted to have a comprehensive, coordinated and proactive approach to reducing and preventing substance use and abuse. A steering committee of prominent Gwinnett leaders developed a preliminary plan and secured funding to hire an Executive Director. Gwinnett County agreed to provide in-kind office space, telephone services and utilities.

Ari Russell was hired as the Executive Director in 1986. Over the years, the scope of the agency increased, as did the staff. In 1989, the first Georgia Teen Institute was conducted for middle schools in Gwinnett. This program went statewide in 1991, with separate programs for high school and middle school youth teams. GUIDE soon became a recognized leader in the substance abuse prevention field in Georgia. The Youth Leadership and Action initiative began in 1998 and soon established youth action teams throughout the county. The Gwinnett Mobilizing for Change in ATOD initiative evolved in 2004 to provide an umbrella approach for strategies to achieve community level change in alcohol, tobacco and other drug issues. Staff members are recognized as experts in the fields of prevention and positive youth development. They are often called upon to serve on work groups and coalitions and to provide professional development and youth leadership training. Today, GUIDE continues to serve Gwinnett County first and foremost, but also provides services within the metro-Atlanta region and statewide.

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