On Thursday, Nov. 30, the Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition and the Vernon Coalition celebrated the completion of year one of the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) Mentoring Grant. Highlights of 2017 in Warwick prevention include:
- The passage of the O.C. Tobacco Purchase Law, which raises the age for the purchase of tobacco and tobacco related products, including electronic cigarettes and other vaping paraphernalia, to age 21;
- A community scan by members of the WVCC Summer Youth Leadership Academy and the Counterdrug Task Force of the NYS National Guard, a Coalition partner, that found 17 establishments where alcohol is offered between Railroad Ave. and the Sunoco station at the end of Main St. and which led to a discussion of a new vision for Main St. by the youth;
- The First Annual Youth Appreciation Night held in conjunction with National Night Out in August;
- The release of the WVCSD student survey results and the teaming up of the Warwick Prevention Coalition with the Warwick High School Prevention Team to tackle substance use problems at the school level;
- The collection of approximately 800 lbs. of unwanted RX drugs by the Town of Warwick Police Department (TWPD) through their disposal box and;
- The presentation of Hidden Mischief, an interactive educational experience for parents at the Albert Wisner Library, with Coalition partner, the Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council (ADAC) of OC.
At the celebration, members identified why they support the Coalition. Some of their responses follow:
- It’s an opportunity to bring some caring to our community.
- To find ways to encourage youth to make good choices.
- I support the Coalition because I love my community and want to keep our children safe and healthy.
- Because Prevention is the best cure! Not only will prevention keep people off drugs, but it will provide opportunities to support people towards healthy, happy and meaningful futures.
- I wanted a safer, healthier place for my children (all children) to live in.
- To support our youth, families and community!
- To be part of the school-coalition connection.
- I support the Coalition because prevention can solve an issue before it becomes a problem.
- Because you do good work; you need help always; everyone matters.
- I support the Coalition because I care about Warwick and the people of this town. (Faith, age 9)
The mission of the Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition is to reduce alcohol and marijuana abuse among youth and to prevent initiation into all drug use by encouraging wise and healthy decisions by all community members. We meet the fourth Thursday of every month at the Warwick Community Center (WVCC). Its work is a group effort. Many people, committed to seeing Warwick healthy and drug-free, contribute to its on-going successes. I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank our coalition members for the work they do.
Town of Warwick Supervisor Mike Sweeton; Jim Gerstner, Town of Warwick Councilman; Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard; Barry Cheney, Village of Warwick Trustee and OC Legislator; George McManus, Village of Warwick Trustee and Lions Club Member; Paul Ruszkiewicz, Parent and OC Legislator; Karen Thomas, Exec Dir of the Warwick Valley Community Center; Bill Steinauer, WVCC Board President; Rebecca Dorney, Vernon Coalition Coordinator; Conor Brennan, Vernon Coalition Youth Coordinator; Becky Carlson, Exec Dir of the Center for Prevention and Counseling, Newton, NJ; WVCC Summer Youth Leadership Academy; WVCC Youth Advisory Board; Beverly Braxton, Retired Teacher and Family Central Coordinator; Anne Marie Van Orden, Parent and ADAC Family Navigator; Daniel Schiavo, Community Member and Beacon Place Liaison; Emily Sassano, Community member and Social Media Consultant; Drew Williams, Community Member and WVCC volunteer; Ryan Walker, Community Member and Recreational Therapist; Bob Howe, Warwick Central School District Board Member; Dr. David Leach, Warwick Schools Superintendent; James Yap, Assistant Superintendent; Dr. Larry Washington, Warwick High School Principal and his Prevention Team; Kristen Moses-Westphal, MSW, OC Dept. of Mental Health; Chief Tom McGovern, Town of Warwick Police; Lieutenant John Rader, TWPD; Michael Kearns, Student Resource Officer, TWPD; Steve Helmrich, Youth Officer, TWPD; Anthony Curti, OC Assistant DA; Darlene DeJesus, OC Assistant DA; Lacey Benjamin, Prevention Specialist, Mid-Hudson Prevention Resource Center; MaryAlice Presto, Prevention Educator, ADAC of OC; Lauren Savino, Prevention Educator, ADAC of OC; SSgt. Luis Giron, National Guard Counterdrug Task Force; Cpl. Julio Fernandez, National Guard Counterdrug Task Force; and SSG. Windollyn Patino, National Guard Counterdrug Task Force.
ANNIE COLONNA, DIRECTOR OF PREVENTION SERVICES
WARWICK VALLEY COMMUNITY CENTER