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Orthodox Substance Abuse Prevention Program Recognized at National Forum

Washington D.C. - At an elaborate ceremony on February 5, 2014 at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America's (CADCA) National Leadership Forum held at Maryland's National Harbor Gaylord Convention Center, the Orthodox Christian Coalition for Healthy Youth (OCCHY) was awarded a Graduate Certificate of Completion from the CADCA National Coalition Academy. OCCHY was among 87 graduating coalitions from across the U.S. to achieve this certification.

OCCHY-Chicago was represented by Chicago Coalition Coordinator Gordana Trbuhovich of the Serbian Orthodox New Gracanica-Midwestern Diocese, and Board Chairman Harold A. Peponis of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago. The two received the graduation award from CADCA Chairman and CEO Major General Retired Arthur T. Dean, and Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez, New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. 

Now in its second year of activity, OCCHY was founded under the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese for the purpose of preventing substance use and abuse among Orthodox Christian youth. Father Nicholas Dahdal directs the organization, which is based at St. George Antiochian Orthodox Church in the suburb of Cicero and serves some 80 Orthodox Christian parishes throughout the Greater Chicago Area. OCCHY operates under a 5-year DFC (Drug Free Community) grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the federal government. OCCHY is the first Orthodox faith based organization to receive this federal grant.

The National Coalition Academy (NCA) is a comprehensive, year-long training program developed by CADCA's National Coalition Institute. The graduating coalitions achieved eligibility status by meeting the criteria established by the National Coalition Institute.
For further information, visit the OCCHY Website, or email them at