Moab City Manager Donna Metzler told the Moab City Council earlier this month that the city learned about the loss of the PREP grant through an email from the state office. Metzler said the $55,000 grant was pulled during the middle of its three-year contract, and the program was forced to shut down immediately.
“We had to shut our doors and say goodbye to the employees,” Metzler said.
The program, which was supposed to continue to operate throughout the summer, closed its doors on June 10.
Moab City Recreation Coordinator John Geiger said that the organization has known that they were in danger of losing the grant, but did not expect that to happen so suddenly.
“Our numbers were lower than we wanted,” he said, explaining that the program had worked with approximately 20 teens. “But we were working with the state office to find ways to bring those numbers up.”
Geiger said PREP employees had developed a plan to raise the number of teens using the program, so the email informing them that the grant had been pulled came as a surprise.
PREP was originally started in 2011 after the Moab Community Action Coalition (MCAC) received a federal PREP grant. The program is designed to help reduce teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease rates through education, according to PREP Moab’s website.
Beth Joseph, co-chairwoman of the MCAC said that PREP’s closure combined with Club Red’s cuts in funding were serious blows to efforts to educate teens in Moab about prevention. However, Joseph said she feels that the low numbers of participants at Club Red and PREP may mean that the community is offering other opportunities for teens.
Joseph said that the model that PREP was expected to use for their program was an urban model.
“It did not translate well to Moab,” she said. “It’s just an indication that we need to look at different ways of dealing with [teen pregnancy.]”
The loss of the grant had a slight ripple effect on other programs as well. According to Metzler, part of the grant was being used to subsidize other areas of the city’s recreation budget to help cover administrative and office expenses related to PREP. When the grant was pulled, it left a $4,000 gap in the budget. Metzler said those funds were pulled from the teen center’s operating budget.
Despite another hit, Geiger said that the Moab Teen Center has developed a plan to move forward.
“It’s a pretty exciting plan. We’re going to be focusing more on outreach and scheduled events,” he said. “The teen center is still alive and functioning. We’re just closing drop-in for the interim.”