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Drug & Alcohol Alliance Head Hired

The first Rumson-Fair Haven Municipal Alliance for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse formed; coordinator will source grants, run programs

Drug & Alcohol Alliance Head Hired Drug & Alcohol Alliance Head Hired

It’s a first for Fair Haven — establishing the and hiring its coordinator. Now the latter part of that first has been accomplished.

The borough, as the lead agency in the interlocal alliance between the two towns, has hired a coordinator to run its first alliance program and source grants for its activities.

Donna DeStefano, of Brick Township, was appointed to the position by resolution at the July 12 Fair Haven Borough Council meeting. Her annual salary for the part-time position is $18,000, “which will be pro-rated for the remainder of 2012,” according to the resolution.

Since Fair Haven is the lead agency in the alliance, all funds will be received and disbursed for program activities, which have yet to be determined, via DeStephano, who will report the alliance’s executive committee and the Fair Haven administrator.

First on DeStefano’s to-do list will be to write the grant for what is called the "2013 DEDR Grant request" to fund the program. Seed money in the amount of $5,000 each from the five entities of Fair Haven and Rumson boroughs, Rumson school district, Fair Haven school district and the Rumson-Fair Haven Regional school district was put into collective pot to as program start-up money.

Residents have questioned the need for an alliance and whether or not it will end up duplicating programs already in place, such as DARE and other school programs. Those who have expressed doubts have also said they are willing to give it a "wait and see" fair chance.

When asked why DeStefano was chosen for the alliance coordinator position, Mayor Ben Lucarelli said, “Donna DeStefano was chosen for her experience and success in the field.”

According to her resume, DeStefano has served as coordinator for the municipal alliance in Point Pleasant Beach, an assistant marketing specialist for Prevention First’s Monmouth County arm and has facilitated programs for Prevention First in both Monmouth and Ocean counties.

She is a member of the Citizens Advisory Council for the state’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services. DeStefano also created Parents In Connection for Kids (PICK), a substance abuse resource center ( www.pickawareness.com) and won the Excellence in Prevention Award from Prevention First and Commitment to Youth award for creating PICK.

She is a NJ licensed Realtor as well and studied at Brookdale Community College.

DeStefano is currently working toward her CADC certification for counseling.

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