Riverhead Community Coalition receives national honor

Congratulations are in order for the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth — the organization received a national award, the Coalition of Excellence for Short-Term Outcomes, on Thursday.

Handed out at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s 28th annual National Leadership Forum in Harbor, MD, the award is part of CADCA’s GOT OUTCOMES! program.

The program recognizes community coalitions that effectively work on alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse prevention. The short-term outcomes award, which the Riverhead Community Coalition received, is for six to 24 month projects.

“I am so proud of our adult and youth coalition members and partners for receiving this award,” Riverhead Police Chief David Hegermiller, who attended the conference, said in a statement. “It truly affirms something we already know: that coalitions work. Our coalition is definitely changing, protecting, and improving the lives of our youth.”

Chief Hegermiller accepted the award along with Felicia Scocozza and Kelly Miloski of Riverhead Community Awareness Program.

The Community Coalition is comprised of 12 community sectors, including the Riverhead Town Police Department, Riverhead Town government and Riverhead Central School District. It works to change local policy regarding retailer compliance checks, pre-prom events, alcohol use in public spaces and festival and fairs where alcohol is served.

The National Leadership Forum is the largest training event for community-based substance abuse prevention professionals, coalition leaders and prevention and addiction researchers, according to its website.

“We congratulate the Riverhead Community Coalition for Safe and Drug-Free Youth on their outstanding work and for being true leaders in the field of substance abuse prevention,” CADCA’s chairman and CEO Gen. Arthur T. Dean, said in November when the award was first announced. “Our CADCA GOT OUTCOMES! winners exemplify the excellent work that coalitions are doing around the country to prevent and reduce drug use in their communities.”

In addition to receiving the award, Ms. Miloski and Ms. Scocozza, who was recently named News-Review’s 2017 Educator of the Year, presented a workshop session about Riverhead Town’s alcohol policy and participated on a national panel with the other three Coalition of Excellence Award recipients.

The Riverhead Community Coalition was founded in 2006 by Riverhead CAP. In their application for the award they outlined their efforts to address the issue of underage drinking among local students as well as its root causes — easy access and “favorable attitudes toward alcohol use” — a release said.

“On behalf of our coalition members and the Riverhead community, we are honored to be recognized by CADCA for the positive outcomes we have achieved collaboratively,” Ms. Scocozza, executive director of CAP, said. “Preventing and reducing youth substance abuse is a community effort requiring strategic planning and persistence, and Riverhead has stepped up to the challenge.”

Photo caption: Kelly Miloksi, second from left, Felicia Scocozza and Police Chief David Hegermiller as they received the Coalition of Excellence for Short-Term Outcomes award Thursday. (Credit: Courtesy photo) 

[email protected]