The Substance Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County will mark its 25th anniversary Oct. 12. The team includes, back from left, Doug Terbeek, Darcey Hurlburt, Linda Gerardi, Tina Clark, Dave Wyant, Angie MacAlpine; front, Nancy Paquette, Angel Marvin, Don McMullen and Darla Breckenridge. Not pictured is Mac MacDevitt.
The Substance Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County Inc. will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Oct. 12 at the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central School auditorium from 3 to 5 p.m.
The event will welcome anyone who has helped in the organization in the past and feature some displays that will give people a sense of what the team has been involved in over the last 25 years.
“We want to thank the many, many people who have been involved with some of the programs that we have had over the years,” Doug Terbeek, executive director of the team, said.
The Prevention Team formed 25 years ago in Ticonderoga as the Moses Ludington Hospital Substance Abuse Prevention. Now the Prevention Team works with 13 school districts, 11 in Essex County.
“Thousands of people have been involved in the various programs of help and hope over the last 25 years and we want to know who they are and what they are doing now,” Linda Gerardi, development and outreach coordinator for the team, said.
“They are making a difference and we hope by celebrating this we will encourage them to continue to make a difference because this is not a work that’s finished,” she said. “It’s one we have to continue to do tomorrow.”
Different programs the Prevention Team have run over the past 25 years include: Walks Against Drugs, Youth to Youth program, SAFE HOMES, Natural Helpers, Reconnecting Youth, FAST, Coaches and Captains, Boquet River Theatre Festival, Reality Check, Teen Institutes, Connecting Youth and Communities (CYC), One Second Exhibit 2008-2009, Prevention Team/Vermont Voltage Soccer Camps and BEST Walks.
Gerardi said that in 1986 people thought of drug and alcohol problems from afar, that the work done by the team was to keep the problem from coming to their community through awareness. Now the problems associated with drugs, alcohol and gambling are here in the community.
“When the marches first happened in ‘86 we were looking at things saturating the community,” Gerardi said, “with all sorts of support systems to catch people with a safety net, whether they are an elderly person with an alcohol problem or a youth who is trying to make wise decisions related to drugs or alcohol in their social life. Today we know that so much of what helps equip people to effectively not get in trouble with drugs or alcohol or even gambling is some resiliency factors that we can put in place in our communities.”
Any one who has been involved with the organization in the past is invited to come together to celebrate and share their experiences, and view a student performance from On Common Ground, a group of students that write and perform their own material for peer to peer education.
The event will also feature an internationally recognized lecturer and consultant in substance abuse prevention and education, Mike Nerney of Long Lake who recently appeared on the ABC program “20/20.”