Police Chief Gary MacNamara and Amanda Romaniello have been elected co-chairs of the Coalition, succeeding Wendy Bentivegna and State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey who served for several years. Sandra Began and Dan Landry were elected Treasurer and Secretary, respectively. The coalition also established three new operating committees – the Youth Committee, chaired by Reverend Alida Ward; the Resources Committee (covering data, membership, funds, and sustainability), chaired by Board of Education Chair Phil Dwyer; and the Program Committee, chaired by Reini Knorr.
A renewed effort to promote wellness
“With a new team and new energy, Fairfield Cares is stepping up to help our community grapple with the difficult challenge of substance abuse in all forms, and, as co-chair, I look forward to playing a bigger role,” said Chief MacNamara. “The focus is and should be on prevention and treatment, especially when abuse of alcohol and drugs, including prescription drugs, is increasing here and around the country.”
“We are establishing new programs – in addition to our existing school-based initiatives – not only to help prevent substance abuse, but also to promote healthy choices and behaviors to increase personal wellness and strengthen community resilience,” added incoming co-chair Amanda Romaniello.
First Selectman Mike Tetreau, who attended the press conference, stated, “Fairfield Cares is an important initiative that is helping to address the ongoing problem of substance abuse, especially opioid addiction. I would like to thank the Coalition for bringing the whole community together to help continue this fight.”
New website and video series
To improve communications, the coalition has reinvigorated its Facebook page, launched a new web site, www.fairfieldcaresct.org, and announced a new program called “Five for Five,” a five-part series of five-minute videos in which experts in prevention and health will be interviewed. The first video will be shot on January 30, 2017, featuring Detective Beth Irizarry of the Fairfield Police Department Youth Bureau. The videos will be made available to Fairfield middle and high schools and posted on the Fairfield Cares web site. The remaining four videos will be announced as plans are finalized.
About Fairfield Cares
Fairfield Cares Coalition, established in 2009, is a town-wide organization including parents, school representatives, local business leaders, law enforcement personnel, clergy, counseling professionals and youth services organizations. Fairfield Cares is dedicated to preventing underage drinking and substance abuse in Fairfield, increasing awareness of the risks of various forms of addiction, promoting healthy choices and behaviors to increase personal wellness, and strengthening community well-being and resilience.
The photo, which was taken at the Fairfield Police Department, shows from left to right: Program Committee Chair Reini Knorr, Caryn Campbell of Fairfield Warde High School, former Coalition Co-Chairs and current members Wendy Bentivegna and State Representative Cristin McCarthy Vahey, Human and Social Services Director Terry Giegengack, Schools Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones, First Selectman Mike Tetreau, Police Chief Gary MacNamara, Coalition Co-Chair Amanda Romaniello, Board of Education Chair Phil Dwyer, member and Adjunct Faculty, NYU School of Professional Studies Don Heymann, Deniquw Weidema-Lewis of Positive Directions, Coalition Secretary Dan Landry, Detective Beth Irizarry, Coalition Treasurer Sandra Began and Vanessa Montorsi of Fairfield Ludlowe High School.