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Drug & Alcohol Alliance Head Hired

The first Rumson-Fair Haven Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse formed; coordinator will source grants, run programs

It’s a first for Fair Haven — establishing the and hiring its coordinator. Now the latter part of that first has been accomplished.

The borough, as the lead agency in the interlocal alliance between the two towns, has hired a coordinator to run its first alliance program and source grants for its activities.

Donna DeStefano, of Brick Township, was appointed to the position by resolution at the July 12 Fair Haven Borough Council meeting. Her annual salary for the part-time position is $18,000, “which will be pro-rated for the remainder of 2012,” according to the resolution.

Since Fair Haven is the lead agency in the alliance, all funds will be received and disbursed for program activities, which have yet to be determined, via DeStephano, who will report the alliance’s executive committee and the Fair Haven administrator.

First on DeStefano’s to-do list will be to write the grant for what is called the "2013 DEDR Grant request" to fund the program. Seed money in the amount of $5,000 each from the five entities of Fair Haven and Rumson boroughs, Rumson school district, Fair Haven school district and the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional school district was put into collective pot to as program start-up money.

Residents have questioned the need for an alliance and whether or not it will end up duplicating programs already in place, such as DARE and other school programs. Those who have expressed doubts have also said they are willing to give it a "wait and see" fair chance.

When asked why DeStefano was chosen for the alliance coordinator position, Mayor Ben Lucarelli said, “Donna DeStefano was chosen for her experience and success in the field.”

According to her resume, DeStefano has served as coordinator for the municipal alliance in Point Pleasant Beach, an assistant marketing specialist for Prevention First’s Monmouth County arm and has facilitated programs for Prevention First in both Monmouth and Ocean counties.

She is a member of the Citizens Advisory Council for the state’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. DeStefano also created Parents In Connection for Kids (PICK), a substance abuse resource center (www.pickawareness.com) and won the Excellence in Prevention Award from Prevention First and Commitment to Youth award for creating PICK.

She is a NJ licensed Realtor as well and studied at Brookdale Community College.

DeStefano is currently working toward her CADC certification for counseling.

AnneLo July 17, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Total waste of money and duplication of efforts. That is fact, not opinion. We already have DARE and committees in school focused on this. How can we have a budget crisis one year and talk about firing teachers and now blow 18k on this redundant position?
beaches July 17, 2012 at 05:09 PM
The money will be better spent if we as a community give our high school, college and junior high school kids somewhere to go and something to do on Friday and Saturday nights. We should open up the gyms at RFH and the grammar schools and offer leagues open to all - the list is endless - basketball, dodgeball, badminton, volleyball, pool, ping pong, darts, stickball, paddle tennis at local clubs. There is always tremendous turnout at the high school when a dodgeball or badminton tournament takes place. Thursday Night Lights is a big success. Facilities are available. Rumson Rec has done a great job for the younger children - now let's see what we can do for the older ones. We can start by using the 18K to staff the gyms we own.
Foe Gi July 18, 2012 at 03:18 AM
What about all us 80+ year olds? We're going to have to resort to wilding!
A. Shafer August 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Alcohol and other drug abuse is a community issue. The alliances are responsible for population level change. The DARE and school-based committees are just that; programs in schools. The alliance will address community-level issues and effect change to support what the school-based programs are instituting. If you simply educate the youth in schools and then, they enter a community where drugs and alcohol are available everywhere, that is similar to sending an alcoholic or addict to rehab, offering the family no education or support of their role and responsibility in the family disease, returning the client to the home, and expecting recovery to happen. It can, but, is much more possible when everyone in the "family/support system" (law enforcement, businesses, clergy, seniors, youth, schools, civic groups, government, health-based groups, the media, etc.) is educated on their role in addressing this problem. Alcohol and drug abuse needs a community solution for a community issue. Get on board. If you are not part of the solution, you may be remaining part of the problem.

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