October 2023 Business of the Month
Webster Health and Education Network
It is a privilege to shine a spotlight on a remarkable organization that has been an unwavering pillar of our community for the past 28 years. The Webster Health and Education Network, lovingly known as WHEN, has made an indelible mark on our town, and it is with great pride that we celebrate their outstanding contributions by naming them the business of the month for October.
WHEN's story is one of passion, dedication, and a relentless commitment to the well-being of our community. Founded in 1995 by Janine Sanger, WHEN has always been driven by a singular purpose: to advocate for and promote healthy, substance-free behaviors and lifestyles among our friends and neighbors.
As a local treasure, WHEN has worked hand-in-hand with the Webster Central School District, town officials, and community resources to champion drug education and awareness initiatives. They are the quiet but powerful force behind many of the educational programs that have shaped our community's understanding of substance abuse.
But WHEN's journey didn't stop there. In 2018, they took a giant step forward by joining the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) as a member coalition, becoming the Webster Health and Education Network: A Drug-Free Community Coalition (WHEN:DFCC). Their dedication and vision did not go unnoticed, as they were awarded a federal grant by The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in December of 2019—a grant worth $625,000 over five years.
This grant is not just a testament to WHEN:DFCC's tireless efforts; it's a lifeline for our community's future. This coalition is composed of over 60 members representing various sectors of our community, including business owners, faith-based organizations, youth, civic/volunteer groups, media, law enforcement, health care providers, substance use prevention professionals, and more. Their mission is clear: to delay, decrease, and prevent substance use among our youth because research tells us that the longer young individuals wait to use drugs and alcohol, the less likely they are to become addicted later in life. WHEN:DFCC's work aligns perfectly with this wisdom, and they are steadfast in their commitment to empowering Webster's youth to grow up strong and substance-free.
One of the most beautiful aspects of WHEN:DFCC is its collaborative spirit. They've partnered with numerous organizations and have become an integral part of our community fabric. Their involvement in events hosted and supported by the Webster Fire Department, NEQALS, Webster Chamber of Commerce, Webster BID, PTSA, Webster Parks and Recreation, Webster Public Library, and Webster Central School District is a testament to their dedication to our town. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about WHEN is its size. With just one full-time and one part-time employee, this organization thrives through the hard work and dedication of over 60 volunteer members. It's a true labor of love, fueled by a shared commitment to making our community a better place.
In closing, I would like to share a quote from Winston Churchill, which perfectly encapsulates WHEN's mission and impact: "We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." WHEN:DFCC has given so much to Webster, and in doing so, they've enriched the lives of countless young people and families in our community.