June 12, 2024
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June 12, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

CCSA’s Year in Review

(Courtesy of CCSA) As everyone knows, 2020-2021 has been a tough year for so many, and those struggling with substance use and addiction have been deeply and adversely impacted by the pandemic and its associated challenges. We would like to shed a bit of light on what was, for so many, a very dark year, and provide a brief summary of all that we have achieved.

We are excited to report that this year CCSA held several community awareness events, continuing education workshops for professionals, 18 middle and 21 high school presentations, 15 parent programs, guidance counselor training on navigating the legalization of marijuana, educational workshops for rabbis and up-and-coming rabbinic leaders, podcasts and radio programs, and an annual symposium. During these events, programs and workshops, CCSA presented to approximately:

  • 3,200 students
  • 1,000 parents
  • 1,500 community members
  • 200 rabbis, future religious leaders and professionals

We also started a new blog, amplifying various voices in the mental health and addiction world to continue combating stigma and raising awareness regarding this disease. We are incredibly proud of all of our accomplishments and are most rewarded by knowing that we are touching and changing lives through our work.

We recognize our success through the feedback we have received from those whose lives are being impacted. We have had students come up to us, thanking us for giving them language to help others or explain their own struggles. We have had community members joining our workshops or awareness events, grateful to us for providing a platform to combat the stigma that persists in Jewish communities and educate them and others about the disease of addiction. We have had educators tell us weeks after CCSA being at a school that their students are still talking about our presentation, and how it has given them valuable tools and resources to help those in need. We have had parents and loved ones approach us, seeking our guidance and thanking us for allowing them to share their pain with those who understand and for enabling them to help those they care about.

“I am a high school girl…and so many of my friends are struggling… Trying to help my friends yet also helping myself is so confusing and scary, and I was so relieved to hear about this event. It felt validating to know that I’m not alone and others are also going through this. The event was so informative and I felt comfortable asking questions and getting the answers I so needed.”

-Anonymous participant at the recent Teen Mental Health Summit at which CCSA presented

When CCSA was founded three years ago, our goal was to help one person—even just one person—reach out for help, rather than becoming a morbid statistic. It is clear to us that we have far surpassed that goal. Through our amazing supporters and volunteers, our school partners and our corporate affiliates, we are humbled and grateful to have been able to achieve even more than we could have ever anticipated this past year.

Still, with all that we have accomplished, we recognize that there is so much more work to be done and we are prepared and ready to meet the increasing needs and challenges we face in this ever-changing world of substance use and addiction. The stories we hear, the questions we get, and the requests for help all demonstrate this issue is real and needs to be dealt with, both in terms of prevention education as well as increasing awareness and reducing stigma. We are pleased to say that we are dedicating the next couple of months to expanding our programming, developing differentiated presentations, and increasing our services.

Even if you think this issue does not directly impact you (chances are it does and you may not know it), it does affect our community—our brothers, wives, parents, siblings, children, neighbors, co-workers and friends.

We would like to encourage everyone to partner with us in our work. By increasing awareness and education, and eliminating stigma, we can allow people to come forward and share their struggles and ask for the help they need. By doing this, we literally save lives and fulfill the principle of kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh—all Jews being responsible for one another.

We are pleased to invite you to a gathering to generate additional support for our expanded programming and services. Please join us at a Meet & Greet, hosted by Becky and Avi Katz, Thursday July 15, at 8:00 p.m., at their home 553 Winthrop Road, Teaneck, New Jersey. [See advertisement for details.]

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