Executive Director's Message

Happy Fall Everyone! Welcome to the Fall Edition of the first-ever GCADA Newsletter! 

In each quarterly issue we will be highlighting the good work of innovative Municipal Alliances across the state, sharing with pride our individual and shared accomplishments, introducing our esteemed Alliance Coordinators, Alliance Chairpersons, County Alliance Coordinators, and GCADA Staff to stakeholders and statewide partners.  

I would also like to take this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude to every one of you for your incredible efforts to support and maintain the Municipal Alliance program in your respective counties and municipalities. Your unflinching dedication to the communities in which you live and work, even in the face of a global pandemic and unprecedented budget challenges, has been nothing less than outstanding. 

The Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, 31 years young, is unique not just in the state of New Jersey, but in the nation. There is no other community prevention model of its kind in scope and reach. 320 Alliances in 425 municipalities across all 21 counties, with almost one-million seven-hundred thousand participants statewide, reaching millions of New Jerseyans. As it says in our logo, It Doesn’t Get More Local, with Municipal Alliances woven into the very tapestry of our communities, playing a key role in New Jersey’s collective prevention efforts. Truly remarkable. 

Recognizing the incredible value of the Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and its participants, GCADA Deputy Director Rebecca Alfaro and I continue to work to ensure its long-term sustainability. The commitment to Municipal Alliances remains steadfast across state government, rooted in the knowledge that your efforts to support, sustain and increase individual and community wellness have never been as important as they are now. 

Sending wishes of good health to all you, and your families.  

Thank you! 

Celina Levy

GCADA Executive Director


Pemberton Township Alliance Group (TAG)

Pemberton Township Alliance Group (TAG) Keeps Innovating While Celebrating 30th Anniversary!

Pemberton TAG is a Municipal Alliance in Burlington County that recently celebrated their 30th Anniversary.  During FY2021, they pivoted their programs online when possible.   They ran their popular Best of Me poetry and composition program online with middle school students meeting virtually for 8 weeks making sure that the students still received the benefit of this program remotely.  They held a Youth Mental Health First Aid training in person following all social distancing guidelines.  They changed their FY21 Sticker Shock and Parents Who Host Lose Most campaigns to collaborate with local Pizzeria owners to distribute prevention education messages pasted on pizza delivery boxes throughout the pandemic. 

As TAG moves into the FY2022 grant year, they are remaining flexible as they work with their local partners.   Chairperson Nichole Pittman and Pemberton TAG Coordinator, Kenny Willitts, Jr. are communicating with the local school system regarding Back to School Night where TAG members will staff information tables providing prevention education materials to parents.   Red Ribbon Week activities will run in the schools this fall.  Alliance Coordinator Kenny Willitts, Jr. stated that “the Alliance has kept the community involved in their programs and prevention messaging through mass community emails and social media posts.”  Pemberton TAG maintains a website as well as an active Facebook page.

Alliance Chairperson Nichole Pittman, Alliance Coordinator Kenny Willitts, Jr., and the Alliance Committee members continually examine the needs of their community and change their programming to meet those needs.  Jennifer Wright, the Burlington County Alliance Coordinator, reports that “TAG’s ability to adapt keeps them as a driving force within their community and keeps them on the residents’ radar.”  

Pemberton NJ Seal GET TO KNOW Kenny Willitts, Jr., Pemberton TAG Alliance Coordinator

Kenny Willitts, Jr. has been the Pemberton TAG Municipal Alliance Coordinator for the past seven years.   He is also a member of the Pemberton Recreation Department staff.  Kenny stated, “There are many Pemberton TAG programs and events throughout the year that I would call my favorite but the best TAG programs are when many organizations and businesses come together to work with the Alliance to make a difference.”   He acknowledged that it can take a long time from the plan application to program implementation, but there is nothing better than everything coming together for a great program.  Kenny said, “In Burlington County, there is so much support from the other Alliances and from our County Alliance Coordinator which makes a world of difference.  It is important to get many active members involved in your Alliance.  Pemberton Twp. Alliance Committee is filled with many amazing men and women from all over the township who are wonderful to work with and they are always ready to make a difference in our community.”   When asked for one personal detail of his life that he would like to share, Kenny stated that he “has been very actively involved in the community with many organizations his whole life.”

Jennifer_Wright GET TO KNOW Jennifer Wright, Burlington County Alliance Coordinator

Jennifer Wright has been the Burlington County Alliance Coordinator for 3 ½ years.   When asked to name her favorite countywide Alliance program, she said, “I love the Suicide Prevention Walk which is a smaller component inside of a larger countywide program.  It brings a lot of different agencies for substance abuse and mental health treatment together with the Alliances, and it is a big collaboration between so many for such a good cause.”  To encourage the Municipal Alliances, Jennifer quotes President Obama, “One voice can change a room.  And if one voice can change a room, then it can change a city.  And if it can change a city, it can change a state.  And if it can change a state, if can change a nation.  And if it can change a nation, it can change the world.  Your voice can change the world.”  Asked to share a personal detail of her life, Jennifer shared, “My whole life has been giving back – from being involved in student government, to being in the United States Army Reserves, to being a Disaster Response Crisis Counselor.  I have always lived by the motto to ‘Be the Change you wish to see in the world.’  Whenever I can, I work to make the world even a little bit of a better place by giving back and helping the community that I live in.”

Kristin_Boniface GET TO KNOW Kristin Boniface, GCADA State Alliance Coordinator

Kristin Boniface has been a State Alliance Coordinator for over two years.   When asked what she values most about the Municipal Alliance Program, Kristin stated, “So many individuals and organizations have a vested interest in providing prevention programming in their hometowns.  Having Municipal Alliances come together to collaborate with Regional Coalitions and local agencies is the essence of GCADA – It doesn’t get more local!”  Kristin encourages all Alliances across the state saying, “Addiction touches the lives of individuals and families in every community.  All efforts that are made in prevention are so important!  Volunteers and community members may not see the results of their efforts first hand, but those seeds are planted and definitely impact any and all prevention program/event recipients.  Even the smallest connection could make the largest impact.”   When asked to share a personal detail of her life, Kristin reported that “One of my favorite hobbies to do with my significant other is mountain bike!  The first place that I ever mountain biked was in the red rocks of Sedona, AZ.  Many of our travel destinations are influenced by where we can find the best trails.”

Important Upcoming Dates:

October 6, 2021 – PDFNJ Knock Out Opioid Day

October 23-31, 2021 – Red Ribbon Week

December 14, 2021 – GCADA 2021 Volunteer of the Year Recognition Ceremony


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