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Grants Support Military Families

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) is set to receive a $25,000 grant from the Long Island Community Foundation (LICF) to support the creation of a brand new Military Families in Training (M-FIT) Program designed to educate, support, and strengthen military families. 

Addiction rates among active duty soldiers, returning veterans and the spouses of service men and women are several times higher than rates seen in the general population. LICADD Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds recently told Anton Community Newspapers, “We’ve been seeing more returning service men than women, coming back in significant number with drug and alcohol issues.” 

Reynolds said some of the issues, which are causing returning soldiers to turn to drugs and alcohol, are sustained injuries, prescription drug abuse, and the stress of returning from deployment. Many soldiers transitioning from military employment to the civilian sectors are also at risk of being unemployed due to the economy. 

Reynolds said that many times a soldier who has separated from the military and who is unable to secure civilian employment may feel enormous pressure by not being employed and “things begin to close in around; drugs and alcohol are a way to get out from under that,” to cope.

Long Island is among the nation’s highest populations of returning soldiers and veterans. Many of the 175,000 returning soldiers who call Long Island “home” bear the scars of war in the form of untreated mental health issues and active addiction. Major depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are prevalent in this population. 

Each of those 175,000 returning soldiers has four to six immediate family members who, without family centered services, are at increased risk for a wide variety of mental health disorders and other challenges. 

“There is a high degree of resistance in going to the VA; at times there are waiting lists.” Reynolds suggests that many of the issues that returning veterans are willing to go to the VA for treatment for are not related to the issues of readjusting to daily life.

This program is geared toward working with the family as a whole; there are not many programs that treat the whole family. “Unless you engage the entire family, you are only doing half of the job” with addiction therapy, said Reynolds.

“We don’t have a lot of veterans just showing up, saying, ‘I drank too much today and I am coming to get some help.’” It’s highly unlikely. Reynolds said the referrals for this program are usually through family intervention, or a legal interception like a DWI or disorderly conduct, etc.

M-FIT is a dynamic, evidence-based approach to providing military families with the support they need to live healthy lives. The six-week psycho-educational workshop series targets the root causes of stress and substance abuse in order to end the cycle of addiction. Participants will learn how to deal with stress of deployment, combat and the re-transition back home. The series will seek to enhance family empathy and communication, clarify family boundaries, roles and responsibilities, and strengthen family resiliency among returning service members and their loved ones.   

The program is open to returning service men and women, their partners, spouses and parents, as well as their children ages 5-15. The six-week series will launch in Southampton, Riverhead, Huntington and Mineola in early 2013, and is expected to serve more than 100 military families on Long Island. 

“War takes an incredible toll on the emotional and mental health of our veterans and unfortunately they often find themselves fighting another kind of battle at home,” said David Okorn, executive director of LICF. 

“LICADD provides our heroes and their families with the counseling and treatment they need and deserve.” LICADD Executive Director Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds says support for M-FIT comes at the perfect time. “With a documented upswing in addiction rates among military members and their families, it is essential that we address the needs of this community and this grant from the Long Island Community Foundation will help make that possible.” 

Are you or someone you love a returning veteran adjusting to life at home? M-FIT can provide you with military family-focused services that can ease the stress and tension you may be feeling during the transition. For more information about M-FIT, or any of LICADD’s prevention education, substance abuse counseling and/or treatment referral services, call (516) 747-2606 or visit www.licadd.org.

Christy Hinko contributed to this article.

News

More than 2,000 Long Islanders enjoyed the festivities at Captree State Park as Assemblyman Joseph Saladino hosted the ninth annual Marine and Outdoor Recreation Expo on Sept. 15.

Attendees learned about sustainable sources of energy as well as ways to protect the planet, especially the island’s marine environment. There were demonstrations in camping, boating, water safety, renewable energy, wildlife and environmental education, fly fishing, arts and crafts, face painting, clowns, touch tanks, ballon animals and plenty of rock and roll.

The founders of the popular Facebook group “Massapequa Moms,” a ‘virtual living room with 6,700 people,’ are leveraging their social media power to create a new discount loyalty card good all over Long Island—including, they hope, in Farmingdale.

With a hugely popular Facebook community, co-founders Dawn Boyle Kostakis and Stephanie Hartman wanted to “figure out a way that we could help the consumer and the business owner at the same time; keeping commerce going, keeping it all local and having the people get a little bang for their buck,” said Kostakis. They wanted to serve more than just Massapequa, too, and the Long Island Loyalty card was born.


Sports

Farmingdale squeaks by Massapequa

The rivalry between the Farmingdale Dalers and the Massapequa Chiefs is a big one. So big that the school districts and the Nassau County Police Department had to take extra precautions to maintain security. Not everyone who wanted to see this game at Masspequa High School were allowed access to the game. In the past, there was some unruly behavior. So, if you were from Farmingdale you parked on the right side of the school and from Massapequa you were on the left. The stands on both side were full and hundreds standing along the fence to watch this game.

The Chiefs would score first in the first quarter with a 9-yard run by Paul Dilena for a touchdown. The Dalers had some problems moving the ball down field until Daler Danny Mckeon intercepted a pass and ran it back into the Chiefs side of the field. This would set up a 6-yard run for a touchdown for Michael Outing who had 19 carries for 84 yards. With the score tied 7-7, Zach Kolodny kicked a 22-yard field goal to put the Dalers up 10-7 shortly before  halftime and the heavy rain that followed.

Town sports shifts to hockey

It’s almost time to hit the ice again.

The Town of Oyster Bay Youth Ice Hockey Program will hold its registration on Monday, Oct. 6 and Wednesday, Oct. 8, from 6 to 9 p.m. on both nights. Registration takes place at the Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center in Bethpage.

“The Youth Ice Hockey Program provides youngsters, ages three to 13, with the opportunity to hone their skating and hockey skills under the guidance of ice hockey coaches,” Councilman Joe Pinto stated. “The highly regarded program has earned it recognition by the NHL, which has partnered with the Town to promote hockey programming and youth enrichment through its ‘Hockey is For Everyone’ initiative.”


Calendar

Junior Varsity Football At Baldwin High School

Saturday, September 27

Girls Varsity Tennis At Malverne High School

Tuesday, September 30

Boys Varsity Volleyball Versus Massapequa High School

Wednesday, October 1



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