Nonprofit Council Updates Name On 45th Anniversary
The Chautauqua Alcohol and Substance Abuse Council celebrated its 45th birthday on Tuesday and officially changed its name to Prevention Works.
“That’s just not who we are anymore,” said Melonie Witkowski, executive director. “We’re so much more than that now. We want to stop these problems before they start.”
The mission of Prevention Works, a nonprofit organization created in 1974, is to build a safe and healthy environment for everyone by educating about positive life choices. It also works toward a united community that encourages healthy behaviors through prevention efforts.
Prevention Works held an open house at its Jamestown office at 501 W. Third St. where guests could see and learn about the organization. This includes teaching parents on where their children might hide alcohol or drugs in their room, or what happens to a person’s vision when impaired by alcohol. There were stations all around the building to show what Prevention Works is all about.
“Kids who drink at a young age most likely got their alcohol from their parents,” Witkowski said. “Some parents let their kids drink as long as they keep an eye on them. Other children will hide their drugs or alcohol in plain sight.”
To demonstrate this, a typical teenager’s room was set up in one of the offices, and guests were challenged to find all the places that could hide alcohol. There were hollowed out books that look like textbooks, inside flashlights, alarm clocks and even hairbrushes.
“I was surprised,” said one guest. “I didn’t know how many ways kids could hide things from their parents.”
Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi and state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-Jamestown, were both present for the ribbon cutting, which was held as a celebration of the new name. A ceremony then took place, honoring the schools and individuals who support Prevention Works. Each person recognized received a plaque.
“We provide so much more than drug and alcohol prevention,” Witkowski said. “We provide life skills building, bully prevention and building resilience.”
Prevention Works also handed out free bags and boxes that are used to break down expired and unused medicine in a way that can be safely dispose the drugs. Many educational pamphlets were also available, showing everything the organization provides and also ways parents can educate themselves.
“I just want to thank my staff,” Witkowski said. “We couldn’t have done it without them, and I am just so grateful to every single one of you. You have helped so many.”