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Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL FAQs

What are Town Hall Meetings to prevent underage drinking?

How can my organization receive an invitation to host a Town Hall Meeting?

We have not received an invitation to host a Town Hall Meeting, although one was expected.  What should we do?

Can I participate in a Town Hall Meeting if I am not an event host?

How can I find a Town Hall Meeting near me?


REGISTRATION FAQ

Is there a deadline for registering as an event host?

Is there a specific time period in which to hold a Town Hall Meeting?

Is there a prescribed format for a Town Hall Meeting?

Can a Town Hall Meeting be a part of another activity?

Is there a theme for the 2014 Town Hall Meetings?


STIPEND FAQs

When does an organization have to respond to a stipend offer?

How can the planning stipend be used?

Are there other limits on stipends?

When can an organization expect to receive its planning stipend?

Are Town Hall Meeting planning stipends federal grants, for accounting purposes?


GENERAL FAQs

What are Town Hall Meetings to prevent underage drinking?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), as the lead agency for the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, sponsored nationwide Town Hall Meetings in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012 and is now supporting a fifth round in 2014.  Community-based organizations host the events to:

  • Educate community members about underage drinking consequences;
  • Empower communities to use evidence-based approaches, including environmental prevention, to reduce underage drinking, and
  • Mobilize communities around underage drinking prevention initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.

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How can my organization receive an invitation to host a Town Hall Meeting?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) invites nonprofit organizations to host a Town Hall Meeting based on the recommendations or approval of the National Prevention Network representative for a state or territory, an agency member of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking, or one of SAMHSA’s national partner organizations.  SAMHSA also invites federal grantees for which underage drinking prevention is a focus. 

If your organization is interested in hosting an event, please send the name and location of your organization and the name, e-mail address, and phone number of a person to contact to info@stopalcoholabuse.net.

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We have not received an invitation to host a Town Hall Meeting, although one was expected.  What should we do?

Please check your junk mail or spam folder to see if your invitation from SAMHSA was directed there.  If you cannot locate your original invitation, please e-mail info@stopalcoholabuse.net with complete organizational details.

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Can I participate in a Town Hall Meeting if I am not an event host?

Yes, anyone can help; everyone is needed.  Local businesses can partner with host organizations by contributing goods and services.  Individuals can help by volunteering their expertise as event organizers and expert speakers or by encouraging people to attend.  Find out how you can help by contacting a community-based organization hosting an event in your area.  Host organizations are listed on the searchable Find a Meeting map.

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How can I find a Town Hall Meeting near me?

Visit the Find a Meeting map, and click on your state or territory or enter your ZIP Code for a listing of meetings near you.  If no meetings appear, either expand the distance from your location or click on the state or territory to see its full list.

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REGISTRATION FAQ

Is there a deadline for registering as an event host?

There is no registration deadline for organizations planning to hold Town Hall Meetings without a SAMHSA planning stipend. Organizations that do want to accept a stipend offer should register as soon as possible because stipends are limited.  No stipend request will be processed later than June 30, 2014.

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Is there a specific time period in which to hold a Town Hall Meeting?

Although events can be held any time during 2014, SAMHSA is encouraging organizers to hold their events during April, May, or June. This time period is optimal because:

  • April is Alcohol Awareness Month;
  • SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week occurs May 18-24 (Underage Drinking Prevention Day is May 19); and
  • Parents need to know that (1) June and July are two of the three highest months of alcohol use initiation by children under age 18; and (2) by talking with their children now, they have the power to help their children remain alcohol free. 

Building on national observances helps build momentum around a national dialogue about prevention. Appealing to parents and other influential adults during times of higher risk of alcohol use and consequences (e.g., spring break, prom, and beach week) increases the sense of urgency in addressing these problems. 

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Is there a prescribed format for a Town Hall Meeting?

No, there is no set format for an event. Events can be conducted in a physical location or via the internet and take any of several approaches (e.g., panel discussion, student presentation, roundtable, open-microphone community forum, webinar). However, SAMHSA expects Town Hall Meetings to:

  • Be open to the public;
  • Inform participants about the consequences of underage drinking and evidence-based measures to prevent it;
  • Provide for audience discussion of solutions to the problem;
  • Engage community members in pursuing prevention actions; and
  • Lead to results that can be measured and reported.

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Can a Town Hall Meeting be a part of another activity?

Yes, a Town Hall Meeting can be combined with another community event so long as underage drinking prevention is a key, related topic. For example, underage drinking prevention should be considered during any community discussion to prevent and reduce HIV/AIDS, school violence, drug abuse, or other public health problems and to promote the mental health of youth. 
Remember that the purpose of a Town Hall Hall Meeting to mobilize communities around prevention. Distributing brochures at a health fair, posting information about underage drinking on a Facebook page, or holding an alcohol-free event for small groups of students does not achieve this purpose. If you are uncertain about your event plan, contact info@stopalcoholabuse.net with your questions.

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Is there a theme for the 2014 Town Hall Meetings?

The recommended, but not required, theme is Our Town. Our Health. Our Future. This easily adaptable theme (e.g., Our Campus. Our Health. Our Future.) can help event organizers frame a discussion about the many problems that underage drinking prevention can reduce.

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STIPEND FAQs

When does an organization have to respond to a stipend offer?

Funds are limited, so stipend requests should be registered as early as possible. No stipend request will be processed later than June 30, 2014.

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How can the planning stipend be used?

The planning stipend is meant to help defray the costs of planning and holding an event.  Stipends can cover costs such as facilities rental, printing, and promotion.  However, these stipends may not be used to pay for food and beverages, door prizes, discounts, incentive giveaways, promotional products (e.g., T-shirts, baseball caps, coffee mugs), or anything not specifically related to planning and conducting underage drinking prevention Town Hall Meetings.

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Are there other limits on stipends?

Yes. Limited funding allows only one stipend per organization. Also, SAMHSA requires one event for each stipend—organizations cannot pool their stipends to conduct one large-scale Town Hall Meeting. SAMHSA encourages coalitions and other community-based organizations to leverage their stipends to garner in-kind contributions of services and materials to achieve their meeting goals.

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When can an organization expect to receive its planning stipend?

Normally, a check is mailed about 2 weeks after an event organizer enters a registration and a matching Form W-9 into the database. Organizers who have not been notified in a timely manner that a check has been mailed should contact info@stopalcoholabuse.net to ask that the stipend request be tracked.

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Are Town Hall Meeting planning stipends federal grants, for accounting purposes?

Planning stipends for registered host organizations are not federal grant or program funds and have no CFDA (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance) number.  Instead, planning stipends come out of the budget for the SAMHSA Underage Drinking Prevention Education Initiatives contract.

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