Commentary: STEPS welcomes new president, new members

Megan Albanese, STEPS Coalition outreach manager

With every August comes the anticipation of the new school year, filled with new beginnings, new teachers and new schedules. In the world of STEPS, the beginning of the school year is an exciting time as we welcome our incoming president and new advisory board members.

For the past two years we have had the privilege of having Chris Palmieri as the advisory board president. As his term comes to an end, we thank Chris for his dedication and service. For the 2019-20 school year, we are proud to announce Heather Clinger, MPH, CPS, as the STEPS advisory board president.

Heather comes to us with a wealth of prevention knowledge and is currently a program manager for the Connecticut Center for Prevention, Wellness and Recovery (CCPWR) at CT Clearinghouse. As a prevention professional, Heather brings awareness, expertise and leadership to facing the difficult substances we tackle and try to prevent. As a member of the coalition for the past XX, Heather has been an important piece to the growth and direction of the coalition. With her leadership, we know that 2019-20 will be a thrilling new year.

We are also delighted to welcome new board members: Jen Discenza (education sector), Shannon Eterginio (media sector), Trish Kenefick (drug task force liasion) and Alex Ricciardone (military sector). It is through the dedication and hard work of our advisory board that STEPS is able to make prevention a priority here in the Southington community.

STEPS (Southington’s Town-wide Effort to Promote Success)
200 North Main St., Southington, CT 06489
Tel: (860) 276-6285

STEPS and Southington Youth Services are also looking forward to furthering our efforts and collaboration with the Southington Board of Education. Through this continued partnership, we hope to understand and tackle the vaping epidemic that has taken over our youth. Vaping and other crucial topics facing the children in our community will be discussed at our upcoming event: Parent University; a partnership with Lisa, Inc.


Save the date for Saturday, Sept. 21, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at DePaolo Middle School. Keep a look out for registration information in your email and our website.

We are proud to live and work here in the Southington community because we believe it takes a village to raise a child. Members of our coalition represent all 13 sectors of our community and play important roles. Whether you are a parent, business owner, law enforcement officer or part of our educational system, you can make a difference with substance abuse prevention.

Through education, reducing access and policy change, the STEPS Coalition makes prevention a priority. Visit our website ( and like us on Facebook so you can join our youth prevention efforts.

Megan Albanese is the Southington STEPS Coalition outreach coordinator. She can be reached at (860) 276-6281 or