Throughout the year, our staff participates in and helps organize numerous campaigns, programs and events to help raise awareness about substance use prevention and treatment. Below are some of the highlights from 2022, but this is only a partial list. To learn more about what we do, read our 2021-22 Annual Report.
January: We introduced the Teen Prevention Coalition, a leadership development program for Berks County teens that focuses on substance use prevention in the community.
February – Promoted the John R. Elliot HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers®. Over 30 Berks County bars and taverns signed up to participate in this as HERO establishments, providing a free non-alcoholic beverage to designated drivers with HERO IDs.
March: Recognized Take Down Tobacco Day by working with Reading Senior High JROTC students to organize a series of schoolwide events empowering students to speak out against big tobacco.
April: Introduced a new cohort of Strengthening Families Program for Parents and Youth ages 10-14, a seven-week program led by our prevention specialists that helps Berks County families build stronger bonds.
May: Celebrated World No Tobacco Day at Reading School District’s 13th & Green Elementary School, again with the help of JROTC students, teaching children about the harmful effects of tobacco.
June: Members of our Teen Prevention Coalition participated in Project Sticker Shock, placing stickers on beer cases and other alcohol-containing multi-packs, warning adults against purchasing alcohol for minors.
July – Throughout July we provided free prevention lessons to participating Berks County summer camps, taking children on a weekly Journey to Support, with fun activities aimed at helping them learn critical coping skills to avoid future risky behaviors.
August: The COCA prevention team participated in National Night Out at 5 different locations, supporting this annual community-building campaign by providing engaging activities and offering information about substance use prevention, treatment and recovery.
September: We celebrated Recovery Month throughout September, participating in a variety of activities, including the Berks Recovery Walk, which recognizes the gains made by those in recovery from addiction.
October: We introduced our No Nicotine November Traveling Quit Kit Tour, handing out free quit kits at seven different Berks County locations in preparation for the Great American Smoke Out in November.
November: We hosted our 2022 Annual Conference at the Doubletree in Reading, all in person again for the first time in two years. Over 200 drug and alcohol professionals attended, participating in workshops that focused on the theme of Resiliency.
December: We bid a bittersweet farewell to our Executive Director, Stanley Papademetriou, who retired after 35 years with COCA, and we welcomed long-time assistant administrator, Kathleen Noll as our new Executive Director.