Cadca Grad 2019
Cadca Grad 2019

Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment Honored at CADCA’S National Leadership Forum

Feb 14, 2019

On Enníska/February 5, 2019 the Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment (ACCE) was one of 112 community coalitions honored during a graduation ceremony at CADCA’s (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) 29th National Leadership Forum, just outside of Washington, D.C. The coalitions received a graduation certificate for completing CADCA’s National Coalition Academy, a rigorous training program designed to increase the effectiveness of community drug prevention leaders.

“We are so proud of our coalition for investing the time and resources to take advantage of the best community coalition training in the world. To graduate from this year-long intensive course is no small feat and the Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment is more prepared today to be an effective, sustainable coalition because of this training,” said Connie Thompson, Saint Regis Mohawk Health Services A/CDP Clinical Director. “We look forward to applying our knowledge and strategies to ensure the youth in our community live drug free.”

The Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment is comprised of nearly 40 like-minded community organizations, volunteers and tribal programs working together to develop their skills and utilize their tools to enhance prevention efforts. The Tribe’s Alcoholism/Chemical Dependency Prevention Program (A/CDP) is proud to be a partnering program. At the graduation ceremony representing the coalition were; A/CDP Assistant Clinical Director Melerena Back, Akwesasne Clubhouse Supervisor Anastasia Benedict, Prevention Coordinator Megan Bushey, Prevention Education Supervisor Olivia Cook, Tribal Police Community Service Officer PJ Burns and Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Wholistic Health and Wellness Prevention Coordinator Kyle Thompson.

CADCA’s National Coalition Academy (NCA) is a comprehensive, year-long training program developed by CADCA’s National Coalition Institute. The NCA incorporates three, week-long classroom sessions, a web-based distance learning component, an online workstation where participants network and share planning products and free ongoing coalition development technical assistance. To graduate, coalitions must complete a rigorous curriculum. They must participate in all components of the NCA and complete five essential planning products that serve as the foundation of their comprehensive plan for community change.

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is a four-day event packed with opportunities to learn the latest strategies to address substance abuse and hear from nationally-known prevention experts, federal administrators, and concerned policymakers. The Forum brings together approximately 3,000 attendees representing coalitions from all regions of the country and internationally, government leaders, youth, prevention specialists, addiction treatment professionals, addiction recovery advocates, researchers, educators, law enforcement professionals, and faith-based leaders. It is the largest training event for the prevention field.

The mission of the Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment is Skatne ionkwa’shatstenhsera:ien (Together We Have Strength), bringing our minds and community resources together to empower our community and its members to live healthy drug and alcohol-free lives by modeling a strong positive foundation for our future generations. The coalition meets monthly to plan healthy, substance free events for the community.

Recently, a youth coalition of ACCE was formed and they have been busy focusing on the problem of underage drinking and developing strategies to address this community concern. In January, the coalition hosted “Boys Night Out” and a “Diva Dinner” to educate our youth on topics; such as suicide prevention, vaping, self-care, bullying, self-defense, and relationships. Upcoming events include the “Me and My Guy” and “Me and My Gal” dances. If you would like to join the coalition, please contact the Saint Regis Mohawk Health Service’s A/CDP Program at (518) 358-2967.

PHOTO CAPTION: The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe’s Alcohol/Chemical Dependency Prevention Program was proud to represent the Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment (ACCE) during a graduation ceremony for the CADCA’s National Coalition Academy. Pictured are (from left): Pat Castillo, Director, National Coalition Institute VP, Training operations, CADCA Arthur T. Dean, Chairman and CEO CADCA; Megan Bushey, A/CDP Prevention Coordinator, ACCE Coalition Member; Melerena Back, A/CDP Assistant Clinical Director, ACCE Coalition Member; Olivia Cook, A/CDP Education Supervisor, ACCE Chairperson; Anastasia Benedict, A/CDP Clubhouse Coordinator, ACCE Coalition Member;; and Jerilyn Simpson Jordan, Vice Chair, CADCA Board Founder & CEO.

About CADCA The mission of CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally. This is accomplished by providing coalition development assistance and training, public policy advocacy, special events, media strategies and marketing programs.


The Saint Regis Mohawk Tribal Council is the duly elected and federally recognized government of the Saint Regis Mohawk People.