EDISON, NJ - On Thursday, January 29th the Edison Municipal Alliance/Youth Services Commission honored members of the community as well as businesses that have been supportive of the Alliance's mission during this past year.

Under the guidance of the Edison Department of Health and Human Services, the Alliance and Youth Services Commission promote and support alcohol, tobacco, drug, and violence prevention education programs and related activities. These community organizations respond to the diversified needs of the community through assessment, education, and assistance in order to promote the health and well-being of all residents in Edison.

Held at the Pines Restaurant, Jay Elliott, Director of the Edison Department of Health and Human Services introduced the dignitaries in attendance, including Senator Peter Barnes, State Assemblywoman Nancy Pinkin, Edison City Council Vice President Sapna Shah. The special guests then presented the evening's awards.

Sign Up for E-News

Special awards were presented to Dora Ramos, the current president of the organization Community Action Reaches Everyone (C.A.R.E.) and Anthony Varroney for his dedicated work in Youth Services. John Grun and Robert Ring were presented with the Lisa A. Gulla Award to honor their 25 years of service and dedication to the Alliance as well as being founding members who have consistently participated in all Alliance endeavors. Maureen Vogel-Horowitz was honored for her dedication to the prevention of substance abuse and violence through the counseling that she has done with youngsters in Edison. Finally, Barbara Turanicza, a 38 year township employee, was cited for organizing the Norther Middlesex County Regional Domestic Violence Team.

The highlight of the evening was the introduction of the video made by students in the J.P. Stevens High School Bridges program, under the direction of advisor Herb Smith and drama director, Ann Redlin.

Students who attend the Bridges program study and work together to improve community relations both in school and outside in the greater community. The students wrote and performed a play describing what the Bridges program means to those currently in the program. The play was first produced this past December at the Crossroads Theatre in New Brunswick and subsequently performed at J.P. Stevens High School. Student voices in the group made comments including, “Bridges is a really big family, and family is always there for you. Bridges spreads love,” “We hope that Bridges will open peoples' lives, give people a voice,” and “Bridges is about building bridges in the community. My favorite part is getting to know people for who they are.”

The Edison Municipal Alliance/Youth Services Commission holds many activities during the year to promote the health and well being of the residents in town. Among those important events are the annual Health Fair, Family Fun Day, and the celebration of Earth Day.