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2nd Annual Faith-Based Drug Abuse Summit a Success 

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Kristian Black and Susie Busch-Transon from Tri-Eagle Sales,
HELP AD Program Director Pastor Stanley S. Sims,
Gadsden County Commissioner Eugene Lamb, and Ms. Jennifer Hawkins,
Deputy Director from the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives

Community leaders, coalition members, pastors, and elected officials from Leon, Wakulla and Gadsden counties came together on Monday, August 7, 2006 to discuss effective strategies in developing a comprehensive plan as well as leveraging funding for safe and supervised activities for our youth at the 2nd Annual Faith-Based Drug Abuse Summit held at the Quincy Conference Center in downtown Quincy, Florida.  County, state and federal leaders attended the summit, as well as members of the faith-based community. 

The event was sponsored by HELP AD:  Helping Empower Local People Against Drugs, and the Gadsden County Substance Abuse Coalition.  This years' theme was "Substance Abuse Prevention is the Key, but Community and Faith-Based Organizations Unlock the Door."  
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 Dr. Saleh Rahman
  Mr. Jack Levine
  Mr. Donnie Gardner

Attendees participated in several informative breakout sessions during the first half of the event.  Mr. Jack Levine, founder of the 4Generations Institute, spoke on the power of advocacy.  Dr. Saleh Rahman with FAMU's Project C.H.O.I.C.E spoke on how to effectively reach community members in need of health services.  Finally, Mr. Donnie Gardner, Faith-Based Coordinator with the Department of Education, identified opportunities and programs that are available through DOE for community and faith-based organizations, such as after-school programs, mentoring programs, training, and workshops.

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Comm. Eugene Lamb    Ms. Adele Griffin
  Ms. Lynn Bannister

Mrs. Carmen Cummings-Martin, North Florida Regional Representative for U.S. Representative Allen Boyd, served as the Mistress of Ceremonies during the luncheon program.  Opening remarks were given by Gadsden County Commissioner Eugene Lamb, Ms. Adele Griffin from the office of U.S. Senator Mel Martinez, and Ms. Lynn Bannister from the office of  U.S. Senator Bill Nelson.

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 Mrs. Carmen Cummings-Martin
  FAMU's "Dramatala"

Mr. Darran Duchene with the Office of Substance and Abuse Prevention from the Department of Children and Families, spoke on the purpose of the summit.  The members of the FAMU percussion group "Dramatala" then performed an entertaining drum selection for the pleasure of all in attendance. 

Mr. Andrew J. Benard, Chief of Staff with the Florida Office of Drug Control, introduced the event's keynote speaker, Ms. Jennifer Hawkins, Deputy Director from the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives.  Ms. Hawkins spoke on the four components of receiving funding:  (1) have a solid understanding of what you are requesting, (2) be forward thinking, (3) be compliant in following the rules if an award is received, and (4) understand that funds are available without favoritism towards any one party.  "You must show the need, then show the federal government why they should fund your program," said Hawkins.  "We cannot afford to wait any longer.  Addiction sufferers need help; the time to act is now."

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 Mr. Darren Duchene   Mr. Andrew J. Benard
  Ms. Jennifer Hawkins 

Mrs. Cummings-Martin thanked Hawkins, saying that "we are all reminded to be good stewards of our revenue."  

Mr. Osubi Craig, Program Evaluator for HELP AD, recognized Ms. Madeline Fontaine of the Community Foundation of North Florida and Ms. Mary Katherine Westmark of by awarding each of them the "Louis J. Parker, Jr. Community Leadership Award"  for their  leadership and commitment to reducing substance abuse in our community.  The award was given in honor of Elder Louis J. Parker, Jr., the first Chairman of the Board for A Shepherd's Hand Resource Center, Inc., who passed away in mid-July of this year.

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 Mr. Osubi Craig
  The Family of Elder Louis J. Parker, Jr.
  Pastor Stanley S. Sims, Sr.

Pastor Stanley S. Sims, Sr., HELP AD Program Director and summit organizer, was then given  an award in recognition of his dedication and hard work in helping to end substance abuse in our communities.  Pastor Sims then gave a plaque to the family of Elder Louis J. Parker, Jr., in his memory and in honor of his devotion to A Shepherd's Hand Resource Center, Inc.

When asked about the day's event, Pastor Sims responded by saying  "I think it was a great day for Leon, Gadsden and Wakulla Counties to have a representative from the White House to come into our community and provide technical assistance in helping keep our communities safe." 

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 Stanley S. Sims and Ms. Jennifer Hawkins   Ms. Adele Griffin and Ms. Hilda Little 
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 Mr. Keith Blocker and Ms. Shari Moore
  Wakulla Cty Comm. Ed Brimner and Jack Levine

HELP AD and the Gadsden County Substance Abuse Coalition would like to thank the following sponsors for helping make the 2nd Annual Faith-Based Drug Abuse Summit a reality:

Florida Department of Children and Family Services
Investing In Our Youth
Florida Ounce of Prevention
Tri-Eagle Sales
Wakulla Bank
Dr. Cynthia Harris
Thomas Motor Cars
Mike Vasilinda Productions
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA)
Gadsden County Board of County Commissioners
Wakulla County Board of County Commissioners
A Shepherd’s Hand Resource Center, Inc.
St. Nora Primitive Baptist Church
The Gadsden County Sheriff's Department

This article originally published on August 9, 2006.



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