Thanks for Celebrating our Superheroes!

This week we celebrated some of the superheroes from our community who have helped to make our coalition so successful.  Please take a moment to read the tributes below, thanking Lauren Allan, Emil Califano, Marion DeMaio and Peter Porcino for all they have done for the Ardsley SAYF Coalition.

“The SAYF Coalition is dedicated to bringing awareness to the issue of substance use, and to lower the rate of use among our youth. We provide speakers who are experts in their field to keep parents and students informed about the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other substances. We have many different media campaigns designed to educate as well as to change the social norms associated with youth substance use. You may hear your child say that everybody is experimenting with a particular substance, but that simply is not the case. In order for us to achieve our goals we have to work with many different members of our community. We have representation from law enforcement, government, community civic organizations, parents, students, organizations involved with reducing substance abuse, youth serving organizations, faith based organizations, the media, the medical community and of course, the school district. As you can see from this list we have many superheroes who contribute to the success of the Ardsley SAYF Coalition.

However, today we are here to say thank you to four extraordinary individuals, retiring Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lauren Allan, retired Ardsley Police Chief Emil Califano, retiring Village Treasurer Marion DeMaio and former Mayor of Ardsley Peter Porcino.


Our first Superhero is a representative from the Ardsley School District, Dr. Lauren Allan.

Dr. Allan is an alumna of the Ardsley school District and a proud graduate of Ardsley High School, Class of ’77. She has worked with the Ardsley Union Free School District as an administrator since 2002, first holding the position of Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and then in 2010 moving into the position of Superintendent of the Ardsley School District. She announced her retirement in education after working in public education for 37 years.

Dr. Allan is a true Superhero of the Ardsley SAYF Coalition, and she has been a strong advocate of the SAYF Coalition. It’s with her support that we have been able to conduct our student surveys providing the coalition with a snapshot of the pulse of our teens. With this information we have been able to guide our focus on issues that are truly relevant to our community. We are the only school district in the Rivertowns that takes such a public stand on the dangers of marijuana with our 4/20 day activities outside of the high school.

The coalition is always welcomed in the middle and high schools to conduct our substance prevention demonstrations as well as to talk about the importance of being substance free with our students. We are invited to participate in the schools’ wellness fairs and most recently we were asked to participate in the elementary school’s wellness fair giving us the opportunity to talk with 3rdand 4thgraders about the importance of taking care of their developing brains.

Dr. Allan has been an excellent reality check for Monique Johnson and I, as she can tell you how dangerous the both of us are together. We have certainly come up with some big pie in the sky requests over the years and Dr. Allan has always listened, and has been very receptive to our suggestions over the years. And lastly we can’t forget about the support she has provided the coalition for our high school dances where everybody’s movin’ everybody’s groovin’ around and around and around and around.  That’s just for you, Lauren.

But seriously, we know we are very fortunate to have had such support from the School District over the years, and we know this support comes from the top down.  Dr. Allan you have truly been a SAYF Coalition Superhero, Congratulations on your retirement and as a show of our gratitude we would like to present you with this gift of appreciation. Please join me in thanking Dr. Lauren Allan, an Ardsley SAYF Coalition Superhero.


Our next Superhero is a representative from Law Enforcement; Police Chief, Emil Califano. Chief Califano started as an Ardsley Police Officer in 1981, and was appointed Chief of Police in August of 1996. He retired after serving in law enforcement for 36 years.

Chief Califano has been a strong advocate of the Ardsley SAYF Coalition, he has shown his support of our activities by allowing us access to his police department to conduct our compliance checks of local establishments that either sell or serve alcohol. The purpose of these checks is to ensure alcohol is not being served or sold to minors. He allowed his officers to participate in our DWI stops to ensure the safety of our roads and he has supported his Youth Officer to attend meetings in Washington DC where we meet with our state senators and congressmen to talk about the importance of our programs. Having the voice of a youth officer is vital and we appreciate his support. Chief Califano also allows his youth officer to participate in trainings focusing on substance prevention, which is a requirement for our funding source, the Drug Free Community Support Grant.

When I brought to his attention a training opportunity focusing on the pop culture associated with substance use, as well as what is available in our local stores to support this pop culture, a training specifically designed for law enforcement, Chief Califano supported this initiative and allowed us to send the appropriate officer to the training without incurring any overtime for the department. He has always supported the attendance of his youth officer to be a chaperone at a Summer Youth to Youth Conference where we take Ardsley teens to a four day youth summer conference in Rhode Island designed to teach them leadership skills as well as helping them see the importance of living a substance free life. Many teens come back saying the experience has been life changing for them. By having a Youth Officer who participates in these programs it allows him to have that much more connection with the students. This connection is definitely a protective factor which helps to keep our teens away from substance use.

We also wish to thank you for supporting our biggest program that provides a service to the entire community, and that would be our 24/7 prescription drug return box located in the police station as well as the two Prescription Drug Take Back Days we conduct each year. In one year’s time we have collected a total of 531 lbs of unwanted and unused prescription and over the counter medications.

We know the support we have from the Ardsley Police Department comes from the top down, and we congratulate you on your retirement, you now have so much more time to enjoy your new grandchild. Chief Califano you have truly been a SAYF Coalition Superhero, and as a show of our gratitude we would like to present you with this gift of appreciation. Please join me in thanking Former Police Chief, Emil Califano, an Ardsley SAYF Coalition Superhero.


Our next Superhero is a representative from Government, Village Treasurer Marion DeMaio, Mrs. DeMaio moved into Ardsley in 1960 with her husband Tom and together they raised two children. She was appointed to the position of Village Treasurer in 1989 serving the Village of Ardsley for 29 years. Her dedication to the Village she loves is evident in her work.

When the coalition wanted to apply for the Federal Drug-Free Communities Support Program Grant we approached the Village and asked if they would be willing to take on the financial responsibility of the funds. We were very grateful they said yes, and I know Marion was a major influence in that decision.

I know Marion shares the same passion as our coalition members do in bringing awareness to the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. When we offered to pay her a stipend for her efforts she refused and told us she would rather see those funds go towards our programs.

For the past 7 years I have had the honor of working very closely with Mrs. DeMaio, to fulfill the federal financial requirements of the grant. If you are someone who works with the federal government, then you know you have to change your password every 90 days on their websites. Marion I will miss the laughs we had with signing into the system over the years and coming up with all those passwords. I’ll even miss our discussions about her love for Willy Nelson.

The members of the Ardsley SAYF Coalition consider you a founding member of the coalition too, we have benefited from your financial expertise and guidance over the years just as the Village of Ardsley has. Marion, congratulations on your retirement. You have truly been an Ardsley SAYF Coalition Superhero, and as a show of our gratitude we would like to present you with this gift of appreciation. Please join me in thanking Marion DeMaio, an Ardsley SAYF Coalition Superhero.


Our next Superhero for the night is another representative from government, Former Mayor Peter Porcino. Mr. Porcino moved into Ardsley in 1986 with his wife Susan and together they raised two children in Ardsley.

Peter started his public service in Ardsley by serving on the Board of Architectural Review from 1996 to 1999. From there he moved onto the Zoning Board of Appeals where he served from 1999 to 2005. He was elected to the Village Board of Trustees in 2005 and became the Deputy Mayor in 2006. He was elected Mayor in 2011 and held this position until December of 2017.

What you don’t know about Mr. Porcino is he is also a founding member of the Ardsley SAYF Coalition. Back in 2009 the Ardsley School District participated in a National Youth Substance Use study conducted by Albert Einstein School of Medicine. When the school district received the results of the study it was a wakeup call. The results were shared with the Ardsley Youth Council which I was a member of at the time. The School District and the Village of Ardsley decided something had to be done to address the rate of use among our teens. The decision was made to join forces and try to bring awareness to the issue of youth substance use. We also knew that if we didn’t get the whole community involved in this endeavor our chances of making true change would be very difficult as other committees who have tried to tackle this issue had formed and fell apart.

When Peter was approached and was told about this new committee being formed in the community he stepped right up and made it happen. He didn’t just make it happen; he also dedicated his time and served to the cause as a committee member. That committee is now the Ardsley SAYF Coalition. Peter helped set the direction of the coalition as we were in our early planning days, Peter was able to see the importance of this issue and he believed in it so much that he petition for the Village of Ardsley to take the lead of the committee. We can actually say that if it wasn’t for the insight of then Trustee Porcino to support this cause, the Ardsley SAYF Coalition may not be here today. So thank you for having the wisdom to see the importance of the work we do.

The SAYF Coalition has not only benefited from his wisdom and insight but the Village of Ardsley has too. Peter is now retired from public service, giving him more time to focus on other things one of which I know is his passion for cycling. Mr. Mayor, I thank you for all that you have done for our village and for the SAYF Coalition, you have truly been an Ardsley SAYF Coalition Superhero, and as a show of our gratitude we would like to present you with this gift of appreciation. Please join me in thanking Former Mayor of Ardsley, Mr. Peter Porcino an Ardsley SAYF Coalition Superhero.



Be a Parent, Not a Friend

Spring has sprung and the weather is nice, school is winding down, prom and graduation season is here and summer is right around the corner. Teenage house parties are also a big part of this time of year. Unfortunately, some parents feel that it is okay to host a teenage party and serve or let teens drink alcohol in their homes.  They will say things like “I drank when I was young and I turned out all right” or “they can go to war at 18 so why can’t they drink alcohol?” or “It’s a rite of passage into adulthood”.

None of these arguments are very persuasive, especially in light of the fact that providing alcohol to teens or letting them drink in your home is against the law.  We, as parents, should instill in our children how important it is to be law abiding citizens.  Additionally, more often than not, parents don’t think about or see the collateral damage that underage drinking can cause – the date rapes, assaults, destruction of property, drama with friends and family, effects on grades and athletic ability, and of course drunk driving fatalities. Nor can it be ignored that recent brain research shows that underage drinking can substantially effect the development of the teen brain.

Simply put, underage drinking can ruin all the things a parent wants for their child – Health, Happiness, Safety & Success. So. here are a few tips for you when your teen goes to a party or you host a party:


■Know where your teen will be and for how long he/she will be there.

■Contact the parent of the party-giver to confirm that a parent/adult will be home and supervising the party at all times. Make certain that no alcohol willbe served, and you can also offer assistance.

■Know how your teen will be getting to and from the party.

■Discuss how your teen would handle a situation where alcohol may be available at a party.

■Make a safe word that your child can text to you if they are in an unsafe/uncomfortable situation. Once you receive the text word, call your child and tell them you need them to come home. This will allow your child to get out of the situation without them having to deal with the stress of letting their friends know that they are uncomfortable.

■Make sure your teen knows what time he/she is expected home, as well as how they will be getting home.

■Make sure your teen knows that they can call you for a ride home at any time, and that they are not to get into a car if the driver has been drinking at the party.

■If your teen is staying overnight at a friend’s house after the party, verify with the friend’s parents that your child will be staying over and that they will be home.


■Set ground rules before the party. Tell your teen your expectations and why you are setting rules.

■You and your teen should understand local laws about alcohol and other drugs.

■Decide what part of the house will be used for the party. Choose an area where you can maintain supervision.

■Limit party attendance and times.

■Make it very clear that party crashing will not be permitted.

■Have plenty of food and non-alcoholic drinks available.

■Make sure at least one, and preferably several, parents/adults are presentfor the entire party.

■Do not allow party guests to come and go. This will discourage teens from leaving the party to drink.

■Avoid easy access to alcohol in your home. If necessary, lock up your liquor.

■Be prepared to ask guests to leave if they try to bring alcohol and refuse to cooperate with your rules and to call their parent/guardian.

■Notify the parent of any teen who arrives drunk.

■Do not allow anyone under the influence of alcohol to drive. If necessary, take away their car key sand call their parent/guardian.

Parent accountability is the key to the fight against underage drinking. Teens whose parents talk to them regularly about drugs & alcohol are 42% less likely to use those substances than those students whose parents don’t!!! 

13 Reasons Why, A Message From the Ardsley SAYF Coalition

The new season of 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix show, will be released tomorrow, Friday, May 18th. As with season one, we know many teens will be watching the show.  With this in mind, we wanted to provide you with some resources to help you discuss the topic of the show with your child. The information below has been provided by The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention has designed a new page on their website, , where you can learn more about the series.  On their webpage, you will find resources for schools, parents and young adults, a list of helpful AFSP materials, and the 13RY Resource Guide they worked with Netflix on to produce.

AFSP Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Christine Moutier, will also be featured in the Beyond the Reasons “after show” which will air at the end of the final episode of the season.  In this discussion, Christine, along with the show’s producers, cast and other expert organizations, will address some of the tough issues tackled during Season 2.  They will focus their attention on help seeking, hope and recovery; and on furthering understanding of mental health and suicide prevention.

Another good resource is AFSP’s newly developed “Teens and Suicide: What Parents Should Know” web page, which contains helpful information and guidance in question and answer format on how to have a conversation with a teen or young adult about mental health and suicide prevention.

Another resource for you can be The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.  The Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255,

We hope you find this information to be helpful.


The Members of The

Ardsley SAYF Coalition

EVERY 9 MINUTES, a child (under age 6) goes to the ER because he/she got access to medicine. Practice safe medicine storage and disposal at home.

Johnson & Johnson has created a helpful set of facts and tips for keeping your medications secure and your family safe (click here).  Remember, there is a MedReturn disposal unit located in the lobby of the Ardsley Police Station that is available for 24/7 disposal of unused, unwanted and expired medications. Be sure to remove any identifying labels on prescription bottles for privacy.