NEWBURGH – Martin Colavito, director of prevention services for Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County (CCCSOC), was recently recognized by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) as an OASAS O-STAR. This recognition goes to exceptional individuals who work or volunteer in the field of addictions, consistently perform at an outstanding level, and make a difference in the lives of their fellow New Yorkers.
Colavito has worked in the substance abuse field for nearly 35 years and has predominantly focused on community organization, with an emphasis on substance abuse treatment and prevention – especially in inner-city neighborhoods. For the past five years Martin has concentrated his efforts on the City of Newburgh.
"We’re so proud to see Martin recognized as an OASAS O-STAR for the good work that he does," said Dr. Dean Scher, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Community Services of Orange County. "Martin has been a guiding light for the City of Newburgh and its residents. He has an enthusiasm and drive to help others and improve the quality of life for those in need – especially the young people in the community. Martin embodies Catholic Charities’ mission to provide help and create hope."
Martin works at Catholic Charities’ Gateway Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Services on the grounds of Newburgh Free Academy. He also serves a key leadership role in the community outreach initiative TEAM Newburgh, a SAMHSA-funded prevention project operating in the City of Newburgh for which Catholic Charities serves as the lead funding agency. TEAM Newburgh is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative approach to addressing the issues of drug abuse and gang violence in the City of Newburgh. Using his experience as a community organizer, Colavito and his team have developed a highly effective partnership of more than 70 human service agencies, businesses, school personnel, community members, and elected officials in order to combat substance abuse issues in our community.
Martin, along with TEAM Newburgh, has been successful in getting legislation on the table to remove drug paraphernalia from visible exposure in neighborhood stores and bodegas. Additionally, Martin and a colleague were invited to give a presentation about their successful work in the City of Newburgh at the 2014 national conference of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). They have since been approached by human service agencies from around the nation that are interested in establishing programs similar to TEAM Newburgh.
"On behalf of his friends and colleagues at Catholic Charities, I’m happy to extend our congratulations to Martin Colavito on this recognition. We are grateful to OASAS for recognizing the dedication and commitment of our friend and colleague and sharing his story with others throughout New York State," Dr. Scher added.
Colavito, who has been part of the Catholic Charities’ team for eight years, lives in Liberty.