Mar 03, 2009 Margo Frink Uncategorized
Joining the Canastota Chamber of Commerce’s class of Distinguished Service Award winners is BRiDGES, Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. The non-profit organization will be honored at a dinner March 7.
Located on Route 5 just west of the village, BRiDGES was founded by a group of private citizens who wanted to establish an organization in the county dedicated to prevention, education and advocacy about alcohol and other drug issues. Its mission is to improve the quality of life by providing services to the community, the workplace, for families and individuals affected by addiction and the abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other substances. Its board of directors incorporated the organization in 1987.
BRiDGES expanded its services to include tobacco control and problem gambling. Its employee assistance program serves 18 businesses in the Central New York area.
Serving as its executive director since 1991 is Susan L. Jenkins. Prior to that, Jenkins was a prevention/education specialist with BRiDGES.
BRiDGES employs 15 people.
Youth programs include INROADS, information on alcohol and drugs for schools. Individual or group sessions are offered and presentations for staff, parents and classrooms. The after school group Teen Connection is part of the INROADS program. The INROADS facilitator also helps coordinate the Drug Quiz Show.
The substance abuse prevention program, “LifeSkills Training” is provided to youth in sixth through eighth grade at four local schools.
Another program, “Choices & Consequences,” is for teens that have experienced legal or other consequences as a result of drugs or alcohol.
“Reality Check,” a statewide youth action movement targeting the “manipulative marketing tactics” of tobacco companies receives its funding from the state Department of Health. Local youth sit on boards and have the opportunity to participate in policy development. One of its missions is to educate the public.
BRiDGES also is the lead agency for “Tobacco Free Madison County.”
SWAT, Students Working for Alcohol Truths, are school-based groups working on initiatives to prevent underage drinking.
BRiDGES also provides The Strengthening Families Program for parents and youth 10 to 14 years old. It’s designed to improve parent/child communication and help with problem solving skills.
Madison County’s Promise — The Alliance for Youth is a partnership between youth and adults and supports community efforts in fulfilling “Five Promises” for youth: a healthy start, on going relations with caring adults, safe places with structured activities, marketable skills and opportunities to give back.
EAP or the Employee Assistance Program has served 7,000 employees within 18 businesses in Madison, Oneida, Onondaga and Cortland counties since 1989. Services include help with marital difficulties, alcohol and drug problems and depression. Employees and their families can be seen up to five times at no cost.
The state Department of Motor Vehicles Driving While Intoxicated or Driving While Ability Impaired classes are held through BRiDGES and funded by participants who attend.
Also offered at BRiDGES are smoking cessation services, community awareness and training and information and referral services.
Facilitated through BRiDGES is the coordinator of the Cazenovia Underage Drinking Task Force.
BRiDGES is funded by public and private dollars. Many of its services are provided at no or low cost and no one is turned away based on an inability to pay. The organization has secured numerous federal and state grants to continue its services to Madison County and the Central New York region.
Joining BRiDGES as this year’s winners are Nice N Easy Grocery Shops (Business Award) and Ann Marie Rossi (Humanitarian Award).
The DSA banquet will be held at the Rusty Rail. Pre-sale tickets sell for $20 and can be purchased at the chamber office, Rick’s Rags, Community Pharmacy and the Oneida Savings Bank. Tickets sell for $25 at the door.
For more information, call Winnie Hood at 697-3677.