The North Shore Coalition Against Substance Abuse held its first ever charity fundraiser in the form of a golf outing on Aug. 29. The outing, which was held at the Brookville Country Club in Glen Head, raised money to help the coalition hire its first employee and will help offset costs throughout the year.
The coalition has been operating in Sea Cliff since 2015, with the stated goal of using education and creating support systems in the community to reduce drug and alcohol abuse by the youth population. While they have not held fundraisers in the past, they do hold numerous community education events, teaching parents and family members important ways to identify, address and discuss drug and alcohol use and abuse with their children.
Over 100 golfers and community members, including the mayor and several members of the village board, came out on Aug. 29 to support the coalition and raise money for the fight against underage drug abuse.
The weather was perfect on the end of summer day, and the coalition met and even exceeded their goal of raising $20,000, although they are still accepting donations, which can be made on their website until Sept. 15.
The event was planned by the local charity, Good Graces. Its founders, Sean and Alexa Trager, of Sea Cliff, hosted a charity golf outing last year as a way to support their friend Paul Salinas, who was dying from pancreatic cancer, and his family.
“We formed Good Graces with the initial intention of doing one small event, a golf outing, to help offset the family’s medical bills, their expenses, and really to show them that the community was going to rally behind them,” Trager explained. “That said, once the opportunity with the entity was in place, what we saw was that we could really add value or affect change within our local community on a much more organic and grassroots-type level.”
His wife Alexa is also on the board of directors of the Coalition Against Substance Abuse. She realized that Good Graces had the opportunity to help the coalition as it has begun to expand its size and scope over the last few years.
According to her, it made sense to them to use the golf outing as an opportunity to help not only raise money for the coalition, but also to raise awareness amongst parents in the community who may not have heard about the group.
“It’s important to reach parents about substance abuse and their kids because nobody wants to be the people that need that help of course. But just letting people know that CASA is there if they need it is so important,” Trager said. “The more we can relay our message to parents and students, the more lives we can save.”
Alison Camardella, president of the coalition, highlighted the fact that the money raised by the golf outing will go to hiring their first ever employee. This person will work part-time for the coalition, taking care of the day-to-day operations for the volunteer board.
While they will not necessarily be looking for mental health professionals, a history in social work is a plus.
The employee will be expected to run the coalition’s social media pages, membership communication, event planning and other operations.
In addition, Camardella explained they are also planning on using the money to hire Chris Herren, a former professional basketball player and anti-drug use advocate, to speak at a coalition event this coming year. The coalition frequently invites guest speakers to discuss drug abuse and alcohol abuse, as well as parenting strategies and other relevant topics.