A year of accomplishment, an offering of thanks

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  • Provided photo On Thursday, Nov. 30, the Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition and the Vernon Coalition celebrated the completion of year one of the DFC Mentoring Grant.

On Thursday, Nov. 30, the Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition and the Vernon Coalition celebrated the completion of year one of the DFC Mentoring Grant. Highlights of 2017 in Warwick prevention include:

• The passage of the O.C. Tobacco Purchase Law, which raises the age of 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 N.Y.S. National Guard, a coalition partner, that found 17 establishments where alcohol is offered between Railroad Avenue and the Sunoco station at the end of Main Street and which led to a discussion of a new vision for Main Street 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 pounds of unwanted RX drugs by the Town of Warwick Police Department through its disposal box;

• And the presentation of Hidden Mischief, an interactive educational experience for parents at the Albert Wisner Public Library, with coalition partner ADAC of O.C.

At the celebration, members identified why they support the coalition. Some of their responses follow:

1. It’s an opportunity to bring some caring to our community.

2. To find ways to encourage youth to make good choices.

3. I support the Coalition because I love my community and want to keep our children safe and healthy.

4. Because prevention is the best cure! Not only will prevention keep people off drugs, but provide opportunities to support people towards healthy, happy and meaningful futures.

5. I wanted a safer, healthier place for my children (all children) to live in.

6. To support our youth, families and community.

7. To be part of the school-coalition connection.

8. I support the coalition because prevention can solve an issue before it becomes a problem.

9. Because you do good work; you need help always; everyone matters.

10. 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. 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:

Warwick Supervisor Mike Sweeton

Jim Gerstner, Town of Warwick councilman

Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard

Barry Cheney, Village of Warwick trustee and O.C. legislator

George McManus, Village of Warwick trustee and Lions Club member

Paul Ruszkiewicz, Parent and O.C. legislator

Karen Thomas, WVCC executive director

Bill Steinauer, WVCC board president

Rebecca Dorney, Vernon Coalition coordinator

Conor Brennan, Vernon Coalition youth coordinator

Becky Carlson, executive director of the Center for Prevention and Counseling, Newton, N.J.

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 Valley School Board member

Dr. David Leach, Warwick Valley schools superintendent

James Yap, assistant superintendent

Dr. Larry Washington, Warwick Valley High School principal and his Prevention Team

Kristen Moses-Westphal, MSW, Orange county Department of Mental Health

Warwick Police Chief Tom McGovern

Warwick Police Lt. John Rader

Michael Kearns, student resource officer, TWPD

Steve Helmrich, youth officer, TWPD

Anthony Curti, O.C. assistant DA

Darlene DeJesus, O.C. assistant DA

Lacey Benjamin, prevention specialist, Mid-Hudson Prevention Resource Center

MaryAlice Presto, prevention educator, Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council of Orange County

Lauren Savino, Prevention Educator, Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Council of Orange County

SSgt. Luis Giron, National Guard Counterdrug Task Force

Cpl. Julio Fernandez, National Guard Counterdrug Task Force

SSG. Windollyn Patino, National Guard Counterdrug Task Force


Annie Colonna

Director of Prevention Services

Warwick Valley Community Center

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