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February 15, 2024. Bernardsville, NJ.

Seven students from Bernards and Ridge High Schools welcomed Congressman Tom Kean, Jr. to the Hub in Bernardsville, headquarters for Community in Crisis (CiC), on Thursday, February 8th. The congressman’s visit came about after students personally invited him to come and tour CIC’s Hub during a visit to his Washington office as part of ‘Capitol Hill Day,’ a day scheduled during the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) conference. CADCA hosts a national leadership forum each year for individuals and coalitions focused on substance use prevention strategies to convene, share insights, and collaborate on innovative strategies that drive lasting and impactful community change.

Students proudly showed Congressman Kean around CiC’s new community center, in particular the second floor that they have helped decorate and where they meet for CIC’s Youth Leadership Council and various community service projects. Students then sat down with the congressman to discuss their concerns and perspectives surrounding youth substance use in the Somerset Hills, and their efforts to promote choosing nonuse and to empower like-minded peers to avoid substance use as the one clear path to reaching their goals.

“It was wonderful to speak with high school students from Bernards and Ridge at Community in Crisis regarding their concerns about substance abuse and prevention,” said Congressman Kean. “The students’ efforts here are incredibly important, and I applaud them for their leadership.”

Youth and Kean visit

The CADCA conference offered youth breakout and training sessions that are tailored to young minds and consist of topics from substance use, professional development and leadership skills, messaging techniques and strategic planning. These sessions allowed for the Bernards and Ridge High School students to network with other young leaders who are doing such important work in the prevention field.

Paola Cordoba, Youth Engagement Coordinator, said, “We were thrilled to be able to take so many students to the forum this year which was made possible by the generosity of people in our community who sponsored this enriching experience for the students. We are passionate about creating learning and leadership opportunities for our youth leaders and this opportunity epitomizes just that.

About CADCA: Since 1992, CADCA has demonstrated that when all sectors of a community come together, social change happens. CADCA represents over 5,000 community coalitions that involve individuals from key sectors including schools, law enforcement, youth, parents, healthcare, media, tribal communities and others. CADCA has members in every U.S. state and territory and more than 30 countries around the world. The CADCA coalition model emphasizes the power of community coalitions to prevent substance misuse through collaborative community efforts. CADCA believes that prevention of substance use and misuse before it starts is the most effective and cost-efficient way to reduce substance use and its associated costs.

Community in Crisis began in 2014 following the overdose deaths of two young adults in the Somerset Hills community. The organization, a coalition of community agencies, organizations, schools, churches and concerned citizens, offers bi-weekly support groups for families of loved ones struggling with substance use disorder, innovative educational opportunities in the school environment, peer recovery pop-up sites throughout the county, vaping education presentations, a ‘parent university’ series, sober social events and meetings, a youth leadership council, middle school Hub Club, and more. Additionally, Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy and the Horizon Foundation have partnered with Community in Crisis to produce and scale out an evidence-based community toolkit for implementation by communities across NJ.

For more information on this, please contact Andi Williams at

For more information or to get involved with CiC, please contact Community in Crisis at or go to