Who We Are
A Journey of Empowerment and Hope
The Council on Alcoholism of the Finger Lakes was incorporated in 1986. In 1992 when the NYS Division of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse consolidated with the NYS Division of Substance Abuse Services, the Council changed the name with the IRS to the Council On Alcoholism and Other Chemical Dependencies of the Finger Lakes. Since that time, the Council filed a “DBA” in Ontario County to shorten the name to the Council on Alcoholism and Addictions of the Finger Lakes
This Council is designated by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services as a community-based alcohol/drug abuse prevention, education and information and referral agency with the sole responsibility of combating alcohol and drug abuse. The Council serves the five-county central Finger Lakes Region of Ontario, Schuyler, Seneca, Wayne and Yates Counties, with a total population base of 280,400 (2014). The Council currently sponsors five categories of programming: A Community-Based Education and Training Prevention Program in Ontario. Schuyler, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties; a Student Assistance Program (licensed by the state of New York as a Youth Counseling Program) in school districts in both Schuyler and Yates Counties; an Environmental Prevention
Initiative across all five counties, School Educators in Ontario Co., and a Gambling Prevention
Program serving all five counties.
Within these categories of service, this Council On Alcoholism has now delivered over 232,760 units-of-service (prevention activities) for hundreds of thousands of individual contacts (youth, parents, professionals and the general public.) The Council provides classroom presentations, teacher trainings, parent trainings, and youth counseling services. Staff have worked with all the community action groups, local governments and schools. The agency provides consultation on public policy, provides free brochures, pamphlets and literature on different issues of drug abuse, and over these past years has helped to facilitate over 10,000 referrals to alcohol/drug treatment programs.
The Council has excelled by sponsoring skills development programming, character education programs, national and state initiatives including the national Red Ribbon Week Campaign, Alcohol Awareness Month, Safehomes, National Recovery Month, International FAS Bell Concordance Day, and the Great American Smokeout. The staff provide programming to churches, schools, colleges, civic groups, and to human service agency client groups; provide individual counseling, assessment and family services as appropriate; and provide hundreds of individual consultations and educational sessions for alcohol, drug or tobacco information.
A Mission to Transform Lives
As recorded in the Certificate of Incorporation, the Council on Alcoholism and Addiction embarked on a mission to transform lives in the Finger Lakes region. Our goals are clear and resolute:
- To reduce the extent of alcohol and other drug abuse in the Finger Lakes
- To reduce the future incidence of alcoholism and other drug dependence
- To minimize the harm experienced in society due to the consequences of abuse and dependence
Meet the Executive Director, Timothy (Tim) Van Damme. Mr. Van Damme came to the Council eight years ago and has 36 years of experience in the human services field. He has worked with diverse age groups in multiple settings including Substance Abuse and Mental Health. Tim proudly served in the U.S. Navy before receiving his Associate’s Degree in Human Services from Finger Lakes Community College, and his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Keuka College. In May 2015, Tim graduated with honors, from Keuka College with a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management. Currently, Tim maintains an Advanced Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC) that he has had for several years.
Mr. VanDamme is active in the community, coaching Jr. Varsity Baseball and Varsity Football at Midlakes High School. Tim has been happily married for 13 years to his wife Jessica VanDamme, who is the Dean of Students at Midlakes Central School. He is a proud father of six children. Jacob, 28 years old, is a Sergeant Corrections Officer for the Ontario County Jail. Matthew, 26 years old, is a School Psychologist at Waterloo Central School, Zachary, 22 years old, studying music at Finger Lakes Community College, and 9-year-old triplets – Olivia, Camden, and Shea.
Director or Programming
Responsible for development and oversight of implementation of Council’s programs. Develops work plans and reporting to OASAS. Supervises all Community Educators, Environmental Specialist, Youth Counseling program, etc.
Responsible for all HR functions of the company, accounts payable/ receivable and all financial day-to day operations.
Coordinates company events and maintains/orders Company wearables, public relations giveaways, office supplies, program materials, etc. Responsible for entering program data into WITNYS and provides day to day administrative support to all employees.
Dr. Daniel Ofstein
Ontario County Community Education Coordinator
Responsible for oversight and supervision of Ontario County School Educators, as well as community outreach providing Prevention Programming/Education i.e. Triple P Parenting Program, etc.
Responsible for the assessment of community needs in the five-county Council service region by working closely with Coalitions, for developing an environmental prevention plan to meet those needs, for identifying and mobilizing a “best practices” based action plan to address community ATOD needs, and to implement that model in a multi-systems format consistent with other prevention initiatives. Responsible for all social media, Facebook, Instagram, website design and maintenance as well as print and radio advertising, development and design of program/event brochures/flyers.
Empowering the Finger Lakes Region
The Council on Alcoholism and Addiction is dedicated to empowering communities across the Finger Lakes region. Serving Ontario, Seneca, Yates, Schuyler, and Cayuga counties, we provide vital prevention education, compassionate counseling, and recovery support to individuals and families affected by addiction and mental health challenges. Through proactive outreach, advocacy, and collaboration with community partners, we foster positive change, nurture resilient families, and create a healthier, more empowered community for all.
Join us on this journey of empowerment and hope, as we work together to build a brighter future for the Finger Lakes region.
Building Resilience and Strength
Addiction prevention goes hand-in-hand with building resilience and strength. We recognize that individuals and communities face unique challenges, and we strive to provide the support and resources needed to overcome these obstacles. Our programs focus on enhancing protective factors, such as positive coping skills, social support, and self-esteem. By fostering resilience, we empower individuals to navigate life’s challenges and make choices that support their well-being.
Collaborating for Change
Collaboration is key to creating lasting change. We work closely with schools, community organizations, healthcare providers, and local government agencies to amplify our impact and reach. By forging partnerships and working together, we can address the root causes of addiction and create an environment that supports prevention and recovery. Our collaborative efforts extend to advocating for policies and practices that promote public health and reduce the harms associated with substance use.