Each year the Council recognizes Volunteers of the Year for exemplary service to the State's Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Program. The grassroots network of Alliances and its volunteers are more critical than ever in helping to communicate and execute the systems necessary to evoke environmental change in communities across New Jersey.
Their voice, energy, and commitment are powerful and necessary as we undertake the critical work of the Council and continue to spread the message that "Addiction Does Not Discriminate" as reflected in our statewide public awareness/anti-stigma campaign. This message lives in the work of the Municipal Alliances, knowing full well that addiction is not bound by municipal boundaries, race, age or ethnicity. Rather, the volunteers of the year, as well as all the volunteers throughout the Alliance network, work tirelessly to change lives and save lives throughout New Jersey.
It was an honor to recognize these volunteers at our 2016 Volunteer of the Year Awards ceremony at the September 21st GCADA meeting. It was a beautiful and inspiring event that celebrated the extraordinary passion and dedication of the 2016 honorees. We were also so pleased to have Michelle Greco from Monmouth County, one of the winners of the 2016 New Jersey Shout Down Drugs music contest, perform her original song, Stand Away. Michelle is very active in performing and accompanying other singers. She also has a great passion for songwriting and plans to pursue a career in the music business
W. Cary Edwards State Volunteer Award
This year the Council also celebrated the sixth year of honoring the W. Cary Edwards State Volunteer of the Year Award recipient.
It was Cary's vision to create a network of community-based efforts to address alcoholism and drug abuse, the Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Program, and a dedicated fund for it, the Drug Enforcement and Demand Reduction Fund. Cary's vision has been replicated throughout the United States and resulted GCADA's Alliance to Prevent Alcoholism and Drug Abuse being the largest network of anti-drug coalitions in the nation.
The 2016 Cary L. Edwards State Volunteer of the Year went to Diane Myers of the Buena/Buena Vista/Weymouth Municipal Alliance in Atlantic County.
Ms. Myers has been an active member of the Buena/Buena Vista Twps./Weymouth Municipal Alliance for over 23 years and has relentlessly sought ways to secure more community support for the program. Among her contributions to substance abuse prevention, Ms. Myers has dedicated her time and talents to the Buena Regional High School (BRHS) Project Graduation event on behalf of the Municipal Alliance. This event provides a safe alcohol and drug free place of enjoyment for students to celebrate their accomplishment. It has been a perennial success and has helped to keep many of the community’s students safe on perhaps the most dangerous night for high school students when risky decisions are often made. Her outreach to community and business entities alike has provided attendees with food, entertainment of all types, prizes and most importantly, a priceless sense of a caring community. Diane Myers’ dedication to the Municipal Alliance and the BRHS Project Graduation demonstrates how one person can positively impact the lives of so many and makes her a deserving recipient of this recognition.