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WASHINGTON, DC [OCCHY-Chicago] — At an elaborate ceremony at the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s [CADCA] National Leadership Forum, held at Maryland’s National Harbor Gaylord Convention Center February 5, 2014, Chicago’s 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 US to achieve this certification.

Chicago’s Orthodox Coalition for Healthy Youth receives national awardOCCHY, 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, received the award from CADCA’s Chairman and CEO, Major General Retired Arthur T. Dean and Commissioner Arlene Gonzalez-Sanchez, New York State office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services.

OCCHY-Chicago, in its second year of activity, was founded under the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America for the purpose of preventing substance use/abuse among Orthodox Christian youth. Under directorship of Father Nicholas Dahdal, OCCHY, based at Saint George Antiochian Orthodox Church, Cicero, IL, engages the nearly 80 Orthodox Christian parishes throughout the Greater Chicago area and maintains a close working relationship with the Office of the Diocesan Secretary of the Orthodox Church in America’s Diocese of the Midwest. OCCHY operates under a five-year Drug Free Community grant awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration of the federal government. OCCHY is the first Orthodox Christian faith-based organization to receive this federal grant.

The National Coalition Academy 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.

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