Mission and Vision

Our Mission

Our mission is to prevent and reduce substance use impacting Essex County communities, families, and individuals throughout their lifespan.

Our Vision

Our vision is one of safe and healthy communities for all residents throughout Essex County.

The History of Family Connections’ ADAPT Coalition

In 2011, the New Jersey’s Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services (NJ DMHAS) recommended creating Regional Coalitions to provide research-based, environmental substance abuse prevention services throughout a respective region.  The staff at Family Connections, Inc. came together with community members and professionals with the goal of creating a Coalition to bring these services to Essex County, NJ.  Within this meeting, attendees created the Essex Prevention Coalition with over 65 members, 16 of which were under the age of 18.

In 2012, NJ DMHAS funded 17 Regional Coalitions, including The Essex Prevention Coalition, to provide research-based, environmental services to reduce underage drinking and substance abuse.  The Regional Coalitions collaborate with NJ DMHAS, New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN), and Rutgers School of Social Work to provide these services to their respective region.  The coalitions utilize the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) model, created by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), to have a structured approach to their daily tasks and services.

Since its inception in January 2012, the Coalition changed its name to The Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team, better known as ADAPT. Family Connections’ ADAPT Coalition progression through 2012 has shown that all members are dedicated to achieving their goal and improving the overall health and wellness of residents throughout Essex County. This includes expanding substance use prevention resources coming to Essex County through additional funding from NJ DMHAS and new funding from the federal government through the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


Joel Torres, MA, MCHES, ADAPT Director of Programs
Jessica Delgado, BA, ADAPT Coordinator
Hector Perez, BA, ADAPT Coordinator
Jenna Marion, BA, ADAPT Coordinator
Paquita Mason, MSW, SFOE Program Coordinator
Ytzayrys Ojeda, BA, Prevention Specialist
Nessie Mae De Chavez, BS, CHES, Youth Prevention Specialist
Position To Be Hired, Prevention Hub Specialist
Charlene Berry, BA, Prevention Specialist
Elizabeth Schwartz, BA, Prevention Specialist

Committee Chairpersons

Guinera Curry, Interfaith Committee Chair
Saquan Stevenson, LGBTQ+ Committee Chair
Michelle Garcia, Prescription Drugs Committee Chair
Position Vacant, Underage Drinking Committee Chair

Sector Representatives

Youth: Yumery De La Cruz

Parent: Demetrisha Barnes

Business: Deonarine Kripalau (E&M Pharmacy)

Schools: Jaclyn Headlam

Law Enforcement: Lt. Yasmine Johnson

Religious or Fraternal Organization: Deacon Dixon

Youth-Serving Organization: Gino Alvarez

Healthcare Professional: Michael Dougherty

State or Local Government Agency: Eileen Fishman

Civic or Volunteer Group: Deacon Frank Ingalls

Other Organizations Involved in Reducing Substance Use/Misuse: Elizabeth Marques

Media: Vacant

Coalition Members

These are just a few of ADAPT’s members throughout Essex County:

John E. Rogers, Retired Educator and Community Leader in Millburn and Montclair

Eileen Fishman, Essex County Division of Community Health Services

Nicole Graves-Watson, Essex County Prosecutor’s Office

Elizabeth Marques, Essex County Division of Community Health Services

Police Chief James P. Abbott, West Orange Police Department

Guinera Curry, Enjoying Life Fully

Police Chief Phyllis Bindi, East Orange Police Department

Lt. Yasmine Johnson, East Orange Police Department

Deacon Frank Ingalls, Galilee Missionary Baptist Church

Deacon Francis Dixon, The New Hope Baptist Church

Sandra Carella, Township of Nutley, Nutley Municipal Alliance Committee

Kelvin Roberson, Urban Healthcare Initiative Program

Denise Cafone, Township of Fairfield, Fairfield Municipal Alliance Committee

Ann Jocelyn, Verona Municipal Alliance

Officer Bret Wagner, West Orange Police Department

Colette DeGrezia, Essex County Division of Community Health Services