During this hour-long CADCA-TV broadcast called Keeping the Faith in Drug Prevention, you’ll see how the faith community and coalitions can work together to reduce substance abuse. Hear about ideas that are working and how you can adapt them to meet your needs. We’ll see how one organization is taking a unique approach to helping faith communities.

Key Concepts:

  • Learn how coalitions and faith organizations can work together
  • Find out how to avoid common pitfalls
  • Hear how smaller congregations can play a very large role in coalition efforts

Originally Aired: January 28, 2010


Gregory A. Puckett

Executive Director, Community Connections, Mercer County, WV

A native southern West Virginian with a passion for prevention, Greg Puckett has tirelessly worked to bring special projects and initiatives to communities in need. As Director of the Mercer County Drug Free Community Support Program, a special initiative of Community Connections Inc. (the County’s Family Resource Network), he collaborated with others within the Creating Opportunities For Youth (COFY) Coalition to achieve milestones in tobacco prevention policy change and continually reached beyond county and state lines to help guide the prevention process. He led the charge to successful support legislative funding for Teen Courts throughout West Virginia, and has continually advocated for the establishment of coalition funding for every county.

Through his leadership, he has challenged the community cultural norms; the coalition has been recognized by America’s Promise as one of the 100 Best Communities For Young People for three consecutive years (2005-2008). In 2006, he was appointed as Executive Director of Community Connections and is also the Director of both the West Virginia CADCA (Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America) Association and the West Virginia Teen Court Association. In 2009, he was appointed to the Governor’s Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction Juvenile Justice Subcommittee. In addition, he currently serves on several state committees including the WV Drug Endangered Children Taskforce, the state Underage Drinking Prevention Workgroup, the WV MADD Leadership Committee and on CADCA’s National Coalition Advisory Committee.

Rev. Cheryl Mitchell Gaines

Senior Faith Based Technical Specialist with McFarland & Associates for SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention National Faith and Community Based Support Initiative

Rev. Cheryl Mitchell Gaines brings to this discussion more than two decades of experience and education in helping children and families realize their potential. She is both an attorney and an ordained pastor. Rev. Gaines has worked at both the State and community level to provide faith and life enhancing support to children, youth and families.

Formerly appointed by Governor Pataki to work as a Community Relations Specialist in nine counties in upstate New York, she coordinated the faith- and community-based outreach efforts of the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. Her professional and ministerial work has included every facet of intervention at the legal, faith and community-based levels of service and advocacy.

Rev. Gaines has represented both children and parents in efforts to ensure that their rights are protected, and that they receive the highest level of professional advocacy. She has also been a Chaplain who has worked with juveniles within two correctional facilities to build bridges between youth offenders and faith and community stakeholders. Her ministry in the community involves strengthening the total person, which includes the family, social, physical, mental and spiritual growth and development.

Her approach to human development addresses both the individual and collective needs of vulnerable individuals while engaging the faith and other community stakeholders in efforts to improve the quality of life for God’s children. Much of her strength lies in her passion and ability to connect people to resources while ensuring full accountability for performance and outcomes.

Rev. Gaines is a native of New Orleans, and completed her undergraduate degree in Political Science from LSU in Baton Rouge, her Juris Doctor of Law from Tulane University Law School in New Orleans, and her Masters of Divinity in Theology from Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York. Currently she is the Senior Faith Based Technical Specialist with McFarland & Associates for SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention National Faith and Community Based Support Initiative. This initiative is designed to provide financial and technical support to faith and community based groups around the nation that are engaged in HIV/AIDS prevention, substance abuse prevention and prisoner reentry services. She is also the founder of the ReGeneration House of Praise ministry in the DC metropolitan area.

Her greatest desire is to let her light so shine in the world that others may see her good works and glorify our God which is in heaven. (Matt 5:16)

Carlton Hall

Senior Manager of Training and Technical Assistance for CADCA’s National Coalition Institute

Prior to joining CADCA, Carlton Hall was president and CEO of Carlton Hall Consulting LLC (CHC), a multi-faceted full service consulting organization designed to provide customized solutions and enable measurable change for communities, organizations, families and individuals.

In 2005, CHC partnered with the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) to provide training and technical assistance support to CADCA’s National Coalition Academy. The Academy, a year long coalition development program, is designed to increase the effectiveness of communities in drug demand reduction at population level outcomes.

With more than 10 years experience in fields of government, social services and prevention science, Hall gained national prominence as a Communities That Care Project Manager, for the Channing Bete Company. He had been a Communities That Care trainer/senior consultant with Channing Bete Company for four years.

Hall received his Masters in Human Services from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education from the Fielding Graduate Institute. He was appointed as the Project Director for the Communities That Care process in Philadelphia as well as the Crime and Public Safety manager for the Philadelphia Empowerment Zone, a division of the Mayor’s Office of Community Services. During that time he managed a small planning grant to over three million dollars for science-based prevention programming in the neighborhoods of Philadelphia.

Hall was also responsible for the design and implementation of the award winning “Operation Makeover” an effective community-wide intervention addressing blatant open-air drug trafficking and increasing levels of juvenile violence and substance abuse offences. “Operation Makeover” was recognized by then Vice-President Al Gore and featured in “Programs That Work” a publication by the Office of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). After years of volunteering with many youth organizations Hall founded The STRONG Foundation in 1993, which created opportunities to reduce service duplication while increasing partnerships with existing youth organizations.

Joe Wilkerson

Red Willow Ministries

Joe Wilkerson is married to his wife of 36 years, Cynthia Wilkerson. They have two grown, married children and three grandchildren. Joe and Cynthia founded Red Willow Ministries, Inc. in February 2002. The ministry’s goal is to bring hope, healing and balance to lives through Jesus Christ. This mission enables the ministry to reach out to educate, counsel and train as it pertains to drug and alcohol use, abuse and addiction.

Wilkerson is an ordained Southern Baptist Minister, a certified drug and alcohol counselor as well as an equine assisted counselor. The use of horses makes a great impact in teaching prevention and in the recovery process. The Red Willow Ministry team goes to schools, churches and organizations to teach prevention tools by using testimonies, videos and horse games in an engaging, entertaining and enlightening way.

Wilkerson has been a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor since 1988. He has also pastored churches in Oklahoma and New Mexico. Currently he serves as the President of Red Willow Ministries, Inc.. Red Willow Ministries also has the counseling contract for the Christian Alcoholics and Addicts In Recovery (CAAIR) program in Jay, Oklahoma. CAAIR has approximately 90 men in recovery. The residents stay at CAAIR for six months to a year. Joe is an active member of the Board of JayCAN, the Community Anti-drug Network in Jay, Oklahoma.