MAHWAH, N.J. – Victoria Shaw was a health teacher in Rockland County years ago when tragedy struck.
“A bunch of wonderful young kids were drinking around a bonfire and one of the kids fell into the fire. And his friends were so intoxicated that they couldn’t get him out fast enough,” said Shaw, a Suffern native who now lives in Mahwah.
The student survived, but was severely injured, she said. The incident prompted South Orangetown Central School District leaders to ask Shaw to create a taskforce around substance abuse prevention.
But Shaw soon realized “it was hard to do a lot of education and prevention and raise awareness without funding.”
“That is when we decided to start Wellcore Consulting,” she said.
For 14 years, the company has been securing grants for communities, including many in Bergen and Rockland Counties. And Shaw, who holds a Master’s in mental health counseling and was once a drug and alcohol counselor, serves as executive director.
“There are so, so many educational grants, health grants, mental health grants, grants for communities,” she said.
The company secured a Drug Free Community Support Grant for the Mahwah Municipal Alliance, of which Shaw is a board member, she said. Now they are working on the same grant for Glen Rock, she said.
They are also working on a Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act grant for Mahwah. The act provides money to treat opiate and heroin addiction, recovery coaches for addicts and therapeutic services for family members of addicts, she said.
“I am passionate specifically about the drug epidemic. I just feel moved by it and so many young people get involved … They are great kids and make a bad choice, or they are lacking knowledge and before you know it they are overdosing and dying on heroin,” she said.
The grant funding Wellcore has secured has helped communities with initiatives such as town hall meetings on opiates, Narcan trainings, events on anxiety and depression, drug-free activities for youth, and liaisons for those impacted by addiction.
When it comes to the heroin epidemic, Shaw feels “you can never do enough, but you got to keep trying.”
Shaw said she is always willing to help communities and people impacted by addiction. To reach Shaw, call her at 845-304-4371 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.