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CIC Youth Leadership Council

Do you have a NEED to LEAD?

Join our Youth Leadership Council

Focusing our efforts on substance use prevention strategies.

Middle School Student?Volunteer OpportunitiesSign Up For Our Youth Leadership Council

Get involved. Do some good.

Want to be a part of something that truly makes a difference in your community and looks good on your college applications? Then our Youth Leadership Council is the one for you!

Our youth leaders have impact on the national level.

Two YLC leaders, Fiona Vitali and Nandana Thannickal, were named to CADCA’s National Youth Advisory Council where they will connect with their peers to speak on behalf of youth and grow their leadership skills and fostering change in their communities.

Jabeen Sheikh, currently a sophomore at Cornell, was YLC’s first member of the CADCA National Youth Advisory Council.

Jabeen Sheikh, member of the Youth Leadership Council for Community in Crisis (CIC) and CADCA’s National Youth Advisory Council (NYAC), will graduate from Ridge High School this June, and in 2023 will transfer to Cornell University on the pre-med track.

Jabeen joined CIC, a coalition based in Bernardsville, New Jersey, during her sophomore year of high school. “I originally joined because I needed volunteer hours and, coincidentally, that was around the time that they formed their Youth Leadership Council. I became one of the first to join, along with a few other students from other high schools in the area, and I ended up loving everything that we did and have been doing!”

“I think one of my favorite initiatives was during my junior year of high school, in the height of the pandemic. We created a campaign called ‘Lead with Love’ where we made little gift bags that included mental health resources and positive quotes that were handed out to friends, sports teams at school and family members. The point was to decrease feelings of loneliness during that collectively difficult time and have people continue to pass the bags along. We tracked our impact using QR codes, so every time someone new would scan the code in the bag, we could count how many people we reached.”

“Ultimately, we ended up presenting ‘Lead with Love’ to SAMHSA, and they really liked it. They implemented the campaign in other schools and close to 400 bags were distributed across New Jersey, so we were proud of that impact.”

“Now we are working on a social media campaign called ‘One Clear Path’, which is focused on giving youth examples of alternatives to using substances. We’ve made videos on Instagram and TikTok where I show what my friends and I do for fun instead of drinking on a Friday night, and, so far, we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback.”

“Being a part of this coalition has been a great way to get involved with my community and do something impactful. I love my adult leaders and the other youth that are a part of it. It’s not just adults telling us to not do drugs or not drink – it’s a fun time, and we are able to have open conversations. I’ve learned so much about different perspectives on substance use and misuse prevention.”

After Jabeen’s adult leaders learned about the NYAC, they strongly encouraged her to apply to further strengthen her leadership skills and meet like-minded youth across the country. “Joining the NYAC has been a really wonderful opportunity to meet other high schoolers from different areas and backgrounds, but all with a similar goal. It’s currently just lifting off the ground now, but I’m really looking forward to attending Mid-Year this July to meet the other members in-person and learn more about prevention.”

During Jabeen’s freshman year of college, she plans to stay connected with her coalition and support the next generation of underclassmen in CIC. Additionally, she will continue to work with the NYAC as a voice for the youth. “I think my involvement in prevention really got me interested in public health and overall, how to better the health of communities. I always knew I wanted to study medicine but working in prevention has been an inspiration due to the impact you can make on other people’s lives. I look forward to seeing what the next steps of this journey will bring.”

Youth Leadership Council

Do you want to be a part of something that truly makes a difference? Join our Youth Leadership Council and work with your peers to promote changes to improve mental wellness and reduce substance misuse in your community. You’ll be able to earn community services hours and build leadership skills that will enhance your college applications.

To join or for more information, email


Be the difference.

“YLC has given me the opportunity to do inspiring work around the community and cultivate my leadership skills in a supportive and comfortable environment. I am passionate about touching the lives of others and making a lasting impact on the world. YLC has equipped me with skills and experiences I will carry with me for the rest of my life!” – Junior at Ridge.

“I decided to join Community in Crisis because I wanted to make a change in my community, and I really liked what the organization is doing in order to prevent drug use/help people who are in need.” – Junior, Bernards High.

Lead with Love.
Let's see how far this act of kindness can go!

The CIC Youth Leadership Council teamed up with youth across the county to send goodie bags filled with treats and good wishes to students taking their year-end exams. The idea was for recipients to then pay it forward by sending goodie bags to two more people. The first round of the initiative reached over 400 students in Somerset County.

For more information on this campaign, contact:


If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health during these difficult times, here are a few resources :

2NDFLOOR: Youth Helpline of New Jersey

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline :  call or text 988 or chat at

For more information contact:

Volunteer for CIC

Community in Crisis depends on the time and talent of wonderful volunteers to support them on a project by project basis or on an ongoing basis.

Skillsets and interests are matched with the volunteer work involved. All volunteer hours can count towards community service. Volunteers from middle school and up are welcome to apply to volunteer with Community in Crisis by emailing We are always thrilled to hear from you!

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Prevention and Early Action
Workshops and Training
Recovery Support