Free activities and entertainment, announcement of BRiDGES coloring, writing contest winners, and local marijuana data release

BRiDGES is hosting a fall showcase at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022, at the Kallet Civic Center in Oneida. BRiDGES, Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., will introduce new program staff and share new program offerings through a fun, free event for the entire community.

The event kicks off with Joel LaLone, principal researcher of Joel LaLone Consulting, sharing the results of a survey conducted in late 2021 regarding marijuana use in Madison County related to the recent legalization. Those who interact regularly with young people, either personally or professionally, may benefit from hearing this information. Participants will learn what they can do to help following LaLone’s presentation.

Those in attendance will hear about a new community-wide coalition aimed at reducing underage and binge drinking, and reducing harm related to marijuana use in Madison County.

BRiDGES Coalition Coordinator Carolann Ferrier and Coalition Development Specialist Gretchen Slater were recently hired to organize and execute this coalition.

“I am excited to work with partners in our community to help create a healthier environment for children through this coalition,” Ferrier said. “The goal is to reduce and prevent underage alcohol and marijuana use, as well as to reduce harm among adults who are using marijuana or binge drinking.

“These are some issues that are important to address especially with the new legislation that made marijuana legal in New York.”

Ferrier and Slater are recruiting for a community-wide coalition centered around this aim. Registration is required at

At 3:30 p.m., all are welcome at the Kallet for music, entertainment, food and more. BRiDGES staff will provide giveaways and information about programming that can benefit all ages. Community members can learn about all BRiDGES has to offer, including many of the new prevention education curriculums BRiDGES was able to purchase with a grant through the state Office of Addiction Services and Supports.

Prevention Education Specialist Katie Byrd is excited about the new offerings.

“To have additional staff trained in programs like Girls Circle and All Stars Core will benefit our local schools and other youth serving organizations,” Byrd said. “I can’t wait to share all we have to offer with the community. BRiDGES has parenting classes, LGBTQIA+ support groups for teens and support for their guardians, wellness workshops for workplaces, cessation classes, interventions for teens, youth empowerment groups, and that is just a sample of the wide variety of offerings from our agency.”

Byrd is currently running A One Circle Program at a local school and has found it to be impactful.

“We know that a huge protective factor is connection and this group is providing that for these young students. Being a teen is hard enough without needing to walk through it feeling lonely. I encourage anyone who can make it to come out and see how they can be part of creating a healthier Madison County.”

Community members can stop by to see animals from Upscale Exotics, get a free balloon animal from Drew’s Balloons and grab dinner from Oscar’s food truck. Winners of the BRiDGES fifth-grade and under coloring contest and the writing contest for sixth through 12th grades will also be announced, and prizes will be awarded.

Visit for a full listing of activities, to register for the data presentation and for more information about the coloring contest.

By martha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.