Mission and Vision

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).

Our Vision

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

Our Mission

Our mission is to prevent and reduce substance use, including underage drinking, prescription drug misuse/abuse, youth tobacco use/vaping, and other drugs, throughout Essex County.

Staff

Joel Torres, MA, MCHES, ADAPT Senior Manager, is a graduate of Montclair State University with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health and a Masters in Public and Organizational Relations at Montclair State University. Joel is a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) with over 10 years of experience in community organizing, outreach, advocacy, and grassroots campaigns. He has also worked with municipal health departments and non-profit organizations to bring programs and services to under-served, low-income members of the community. Previously, Joel served as an elected representative on the Hudson County Board of Commissioners, representing parts of Jersey City, and on the Jersey City Board of Education, where he served as President in 2017.

Contact Joel at 201-682-9010 or [email protected]

Jessica Delgado, BA, ADAPT Coordinator, is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Spanish. Jessica has more than sixteen years’ experience working with children and families in the non-profit field, providing primary, secondary and tertiary mental health and prevention services as well as developing new programs aimed to improve the lives of children and their families with the goal to decrease child abuse and neglect.

As Coordinator, Jessica collaborates with faith-based leaders and members to expand substance abuse prevention services into faith-based communities throughout Essex County. In addition, she oversees the Essex County Youth Tobacco Action Group, a tobacco/nicotine prevention and cessation program for youth ages 13-18, and collaborates with schools, youth-serving organizations, municipal alliances, law enforcement, health departments, and other partners to address underage drinking and underage tobacco/nicotine use.

Contact Jessica at 201-463-3433 or [email protected]

Julia Revoredo, MSW, ADAPT Coordinator, is a graduate of Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Spanish. Julia has four years of experience in the social service field delivering quality, evidence-based interventions to a spectrum of culturally and ethnically diverse individuals ranging in age and culturally and ethnically diverse. Julia has served as a Parent Educator for Parents As Teachers (PAT) of Essex County, instructing and assisting residents with activities of child-development, parenting skills and helping families learn to advocate for themselves to obtain needed help. She has also served as a Group Facilitator for Strengthening Families of Essex County (SFOE) facilitating group sessions for parents and caregivers, strengthening family bonding and nurturing children’s social and emotional development.

As Coordinator, Julia collaborates with LGBTQ+ partners/providers to expand substance use prevention resources and programming in LGBTQ+ communities throughout Essex County. In addition, Julia works with local partners to decrease prescription drug abuse and misuse in the older adult (60+ years old) population.  This includes outreach initiatives with law enforcement, health departments, senior citizens, parents, and youth.

Contact Julia at 862-210-0835 or [email protected]

Emelyn Falcon, CHES, ADAPT Youth Prevention Specialist, graduated from William Paterson University with a Bachelor of Science in Public Health. Emelyn is a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) who worked three years with a nonprofit methadone clinic where she gained experience working with people that struggled with addiction. In 2019, she completed her internship hours with the Bloomfield Health Department and Human Services where she had the opportunity to gain experience in the Public Health field and teach a 12-week evidence-based course to the elderly to educate them on prevention.

As the Youth Prevention Specialist, Emelyn provides trainings to youth leaders, youth groups, and youth-serving organizations on various topics. She participates in community outreach efforts, engaging youth groups, youth-serving organizations, and general stakeholders throughout Essex County.

Contact Emelyn at 201-563-6641 or [email protected]

Hector Perez BA, ADAPT Coordinator, is a graduate of Rutgers University-Newark with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.  Hector has more than five years’ experience working in the non-profit sector. Having worked with diverse communities, he is committed to social justice issues and making sure that future generations can live in a more equal society. He continuously strives to contribute to the progress of humanity.

As Coordinator, Hector works specifically on the Prescription Drugs Initiative for Older Adults. He helps to coordinate programs that aim to improve the overall Health and Wellness of senior citizens in Essex County. He participates in community outreach efforts that include working with law enforcement, site coordinators/directors, healthcare sector, and many others.

Contact Hector Perez at 862-233-5756 or [email protected]

Alexis Raymond, BS, ADAPT Prevention Specialist, graduated from William Paterson University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health Education. Alexis has more than five years of experience providing older adult care and working with volleyball and basketball youth sports teams. Alexis completed her internship with the Bloomfield Health Department and Human Services where she had the opportunity to facilitate an evidence-based course for older adults and gain experience in the Public Health field.

As a Prevention Specialist, Alexis facilitates the 6-week WISE Curriculum for older adults, assists in Brown Bag events for safe medication disposal, and provides underage drinking/substance misuse prevention trainings to college campuses throughout Essex County.

Contact Alexis at 862-233-3695 or [email protected]

Jenna Atmeh, B.S., ADAPT Prevention Specialist, graduated from William Paterson University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Public Health. Jenna has worked in the field for 3 years gaining experience in working with multiple communities and different community needs. Her previous work was with the Bloomfield Health Department as an intern and employee working with their Health Education Division as well as assisting one of their contracting towns by being their Municipal Alliance Coordinator. Jenna has also worked with Passaic County as a Municipal Alliance Coordinator by assisting 16 towns who were being funded by the Governor’s Council of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (GCADA).

As a Prevention Specialist for ADAPT, Jenna will be assisting with the LGBTQ+ programming and activities, along with any additional duties needed to support the overall effectiveness of ADAPT. She will facilitate groups during the school day for youth on prevention education strategies to reduce early first use of alcohol, marijuana, and prescription and over the counter medications, as well as bullying behavior. Jenna will assist with planning LGBTQ+ programming and outreach events for LGBTQ+ residents, their families, their peers, etc., throughout Essex County.

Contact Jenna at 201-247-4489 or [email protected]

Ytzayrys Ojeda, Prevention Specialist, graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. Ytzayrys has worked with various populations in the social work field over the last ten years. She has been able to work with youth via school-based youth services programs in Essex County and Passaic County, has provided mental health services to women in treatment for substance use at the Straight and Narrow Agency in Paterson, and recently was working as a Housing Case manager for the HomeSafe program at Family connections.

As a Prevention Specialist, Ytzayrys will work on the LGBTQ committee initiatives, participate in outreach to Elementary Schools within Essex County and facilitate an evidence-based curriculum to students in order reduce early first use of alcohol, marijuana, prescription and over the counter medications.

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

AND MORE….