Elizabethtown Prevention Team members, past and present, community members, and students turned out Wednesday, Oct. 12 to celebrate the organization’s accomplishments for its 25 anniversary at the Elizabethtown-Lewis Central school.
“We are so pleased that everyone could make it to see how much has gone into this over the past 25 years,” Linda Gerardi, Prevention Team development and outreach coordinator said.
The Prevention Team, otherwise known as the Substance Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County Inc., is an organization that began 25 years ago out as the Moses Ludington Hospital for Substance Abuse in Ticonderoga. The organization now has expanded to work with 13 school districts throughout Essex County and surrounding areas.
The event featured Moriah students involved with On Common Ground, a performance group of students from Moriah Central School who write, coordinate and perform their own plays to raise awareness. The group performed a play about the dangers of gambling and the effects on the individuals, families and friends associated with problem gambling.
Mike Nerney, an internationally known lecturer and consultant for the Prevention Team who has been featured on such television shows as 20/20, spoke to the audience about the complexities of educating teenagers and younger students.
“The young brain cannot begin to be able to realize the consequences of their actions until the age of 25,” Nerney said to the audience members. “This is why learning the best way to educate them is crucial.”
Nerney also gave an overview on how educational practices have changed over the time as people learn more about the science of how teenagers and younger students perceive messages about their personal health and well being.
The event was also attended by local politicians coming out to show support for the organization, including Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague, Jay Town Supervisor Randall “Randy” Douglas, former Ticonderoga supervisor Robert Dedrick, and Mark Westcott, deputy district director for Rep. Chris Gibson.
Prevention Team President Michael Diskin and Prevention Team Executive Director Doug Terbeek spoke about the changes and growth of the organization over the past 25 years and thanked everyone involved with its progress.