Alden Hosts CADCA Leadership Conference


The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America Conference (CADCA) took place at Alden High School on March 24-25. The conference lasted two days and provided more than 50 students and 10 schools with critical leadership information. CADCA takes place every year and every conference is unique.

The main goal of CADCA is to instill leadership skills and inspire students to become difference-makers in schools across America, as well as to put an end to students abusing substances.

Many students agreed that schools across New York have issues with teens vaping, smoking, underaged drinking, and other substance abuse issues. One of the main goals of CADCA Changemaker Academy emphasized was becoming the best version of yourself that you can be.

Activities included drawing out “hot spots” in overpopulated drug areas on a map, sharing a logic model about how schools can give different consequences for substance abuse, and a game that highlighted how easily students can exclude one another.

As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” This is exactly what CADCA’s goals are. Engaging, developing, and inspiring kids can make a colossal impact in schools and beyond.

In our own backyard, the Alden Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (ASAPC) is making a difference for kids as well. The coalition hosts the Halloween Spooktacular, National Night Out, the Health and Wellness fair and so much more. These events are all ways of helping kids and adults to imagine and live a better life without substance abuse.

“Creating leadership in our community, you guys (kids) are the way of the future,” said ASAPC Program Director Colleen Babcock. “Anything that we can offer you to help you enhance the skills that you guys have to be changemakers in the community. That’s what it’s all about.”

Besides the snacks, Emily Lupini, a freshman at Amherst High school, loved meeting all the new people and getting outside of her comfort zone and being leader and changemaker. The same went for the plethora of other students in attendance at the conference.

Everyone strives to be the best version of themselves that they can be. But truly, the very best version of yourself is drug free!