Dear Friends,

Think back to 1967:  hip huggers, love beads and bell bottoms were the rage.  Fast forward to 2012 – not too much change when one considers fashion!  But think back to the issues at hand in 1967: our nightly news stations – all three of them – were covering an unpopular war.  Fast forward 45 years -now our hundreds of cable and cyber outlets are covering another unpopular war.  So what HAS changed in 45 years? How about the number of outlets and opportunities for young people to get in trouble?  How about the number of different types of drugs and the wide variety of alcoholic beverages now available? As many things remain the same, many things have changed.  Prevention First’s programs and services are now more necessary than ever.  Our professional staff is constantly assessing the trends in our communities and the needs of our families, in order to be able to provide programs and services that are in sync with those we serve.  

The world today is complicated. Great technological advances have allowed us more options as well as quickened the pace of our daily lives. From our “smart phones” being toted with us 24/7, to communicating with the world at a touch of a button, to an array of information available wherever we go, the world is changing. Not to mention the tremendous ongoing impact on our lives created by the events of 9/11.

Just as our world continues to change, we need to adjust how we care for ourselves and how we prepare for a more complex and uncertain future. Reaching the 45th anniversary milestone, as a nonprofit charity is not easy, our vision is even more relevant today—Prevention First is committed to improving the lives of Monmouth and Ocean county’s residents so that all can thrive and grow to be strong, responsible individuals in any environment.  We work daily to strengthen the foundations of children and families by empowering them to successfully handle difficult, everyday life situations and extraordinary challenges such as bullying and substance abuse

But just as the complexities of our lives continue to accelerate, too many people are struggling with alcohol and drug abuse. There are an estimated 41,000 adult problem drinkers in need of treatment in Monmouth and Ocean counties and one directly impacts at least five other persons daily. An estimated 20,369 adult drug abusers are in need of treatment living in our community today. Prevention First is committed to improving the conditions and opportunities for children and families to live in a safe, drug- and violence-free environment that encourages healthy lifestyles by offering the community, programs and services of the highest caliber.

Our agency has grown stronger over time, beginning in 1967 as the Alcoholism Council of Monmouth County with one employee to functioning today as a team of 25 highly trained award-winning professionals. Since that time, close to 180,000 children and families have benfited from the comprehensive range of programs and services we have offered throughout the years.

Not only have we adapted with the changes of the world, but also we’ve helped navigate the well-being of Monmouth and Ocean counties by addressing important issues as they emerge with key conferences, school programs and office workshops. We’ve incorporated critical thought-provoking issues into prevention and education programs by recognizing a trend early on and raising awareness within Monmouth and Ocean counties.

After 45 years, the world has certainly changed, but each day, week, month and year we continue to be amazed by the individuals involved in our programs and services that have committed to great, positive change within themselves. We thank the community for its support and we look forward to our mission of keeping children, families and communities healthy, safe and drug-free in Monmouth and Ocean counties. For more information on our services, please contact us by calling (732) 663-1800 or visit our website at

Mary Pat Angelini
Executive Director & CEO
Prevention First 

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...