COCA Honors Prevention Professionals During National Prevention Week

On May 15, 2024, the Council on Chemical Abuse hosted a Prevention Week Celebration that included an awards presentation, tours of the Prevention Department offices, games and prizes. About 60 people attended the event, which took place during National Prevention Week (May 12-18, 2024) at the RISE Recovery Center in Reading.

Recognition for Excellence Awards were presented to seven local individuals who were honored for their work in the field of Prevention. Those included:

• Heather Boyer – Program Director, Reading Recreation Commission
• Anita Miller – Community Prevention Partnership Program Coordinator for Project Peace and the Northeast Community Springboard Coalition
• Ericka Garcia – Wilson SD Elementary Social Worker
• First Sgt Joseph Cipko – Reading SD JROTC
• Alycia Lenart – K-12 Student Support Coordinator
• Mike Reese – COCA Consultant
• Logan Long – COCA Intern, 2024 Graduate of Alvernia University

Award winners (l to r) Mike Reese, Logan Long, Alycia Lenart, Heather Boyer, Pat Ganter Scholarship winner Katelynn Humbles, and Anita Miller. (Not pictured: First Sgt Joseph Cipko & Ericka Garcia)

In addition, the Pat Ganter Scholarship was also presented to Katelynn Humbles, who will graduate from Conrad Weiser High School in June. Humbles was the winner of the annual $5,000 scholarship awarded by COCA to a Berks County teen pursuing a career related to substance use prevention, treatment or recovery. Humbles is planning to attend Kutztown University to study art education.

The awards were an opportunity to recognize the valuable work of Prevention professionals who teach youth and the community the facts about substances and the skills to lead healthy, substance-free lives.

“While there is sadness and heartbreak in this disease of addiction there is also hope and joy,” said Alicia Kline, Prevention Program Supervisor for the Council on Chemical Abuse.” There is hope in recovery and there is hope in all we do in Prevention. Prevention provides critical skills youth and families need to avoid the devastation of addiction, and that is beautiful, and that is important!”

Following the award presentation, the COCA Prevention Department opened their doors to attendees.  Last summer, the Prevention Department moved to its current office, located next to the RISE Recovery Center at 702 N. 8th St. in Reading.

Participants were able to see the new offices and also had an opportunity to participate in several prevention-themed activities. The offered a glimpse into the fun, engaging methods prevention specialists use to teach youth the skills to avoid substances and cope with stress. included making a Better Day Box, testing out a Playdoh brain game, and having photos taken with COCA mascot Courage the Lion.

The event was catered by Isaac Gonzalez Perez, who spoke briefly after the awards presentation about how his participation in a prevention program run by COCA helped change his life when he was a teen.
Watch a WFMZ New Story about the Prevention Celebration

Read the Reading Eagle Article


National Prevention Week 2024 runs from May 12-18. It is a time to raise awareness about efforts to prevent substance misuse and promote mental health.

COCA Prevention Staff (L to R) Leslie Houck, Sonia Santiago, Amber Moyer, Mascot Courage, Courtney Keith, Teresa Detweiler, Zoe Stankiewicz

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