Friday, 05 February 2010 00:00
Last Thursday evening, Jan. 28, Drug Free Massapequa (DFM) welcomed local businesses and legislators to its first Open House held at 5023 Merrick Rd. on the north side of John Burns Park.
The meeting was marked by good cheer but also a determination to confront and defeat the drug problem in the Massapequas. Many of the faithful were present, including State Assemblyman Joseph Saladino, Town Councilman Joe Pinto, Seventh Precinct P.O.P. Detectives Gary Fujarski and Janet Gallagher, and activist Vic Ciappa, father of Natalie Ciappa, and architect of Natalie’s Law.
As business owners sipped sparkling water and sampled platters of sliced fruit, cheese, and veggies, stories of despair and strategies for success permeated conversations. Enthusiasm for the new venture was obvious.
DFM’s executive board will include Vicky Honohan and Janice Talento as co-presidents, Susan Sieczowski as treasurer, and Tim Taylor as secretary. All officers are residents of the Massapequas. Massapequa Park attorney John Budnick was acknowledged for his pro bono services in activating DFM as a non-profit, tax exempt corporation.
DFM has obtained the approval and cooperation of both the Massapequa School District and St. Rose of Lima to develop three public awareness projects before school closes in June. A Poster Contest for students K through 12 is being planned for February. Winners will be announced at a second DFM event scheduled for March.
In addition, the Town of Oyster Bay has approved a Spring Outdoor Sporting Competition to be held at John Burns Park. Youth will compete in a variety of sporting events, with Karate demonstrations also on the agenda. Prizes will be distributed to winners of both the poster contest and sporting competitions.
The third project will be a series of Parent/Student Forums to be held at Berner Middle School toward the end of April. In order to foster parent and student attendance, a Florida vacation for four is on the drawing board. Gary Zaccaro, Drug Free Massapequa’s chairman of fund raising, will be working hard to raise private money.
Vicky and Janice have come to realize that no child in the area is unscathed from the drug problem. And so, public awareness of middle and high school abuse of alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin and other opiates is Drug Free Massapequa’s primary, short-term goal.
A number of other worthwhile projects will be announced this year and beyond. Vicky and Janice announced to those in attendance that they are full of new ideas.
“With lots of prayer and cooperation from a caring community, our efforts as well as challenges are unstoppable,” Vicky and Janice both declared.
Drug Free Massapequa’s co-founders and executive board are bona fide volunteers, receiving no financial compensation for their hard work, one that exists to instill in the thoughts and hearts of teenagers and young adults that they are truly too good for drugs.
All Massapequa schools and school age children are welcome to participate. To donate, volunteer or receive additional information about these three events, visit their website at www.drugfreemassapequa.com or their email at drugfreemassapequa
@gmail.com or call 308-4068.