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Fairfield Cares Announces New Leadership, Website, Video Series

Amanda Romaniello, left, and Police Chief Gary McNamara have been have been elected co-chairs of the Fairfield Cares Community Coalition.
Amanda Romaniello, left, and Police Chief Gary McNamara have been have been elected co-chairs of the Fairfield Cares Community Coalition. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Fairfield Cares

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Fairfield Cares Community Coalition, a primary town resource for families concerned about preventing and reducing drinking and substance abuse, has announced a new leadership team.

Police Chief Gary MacNamara and Amanda Romaniello have been elected co-chairs, succeeding Wendy Bentivegna and Cristin McCarthy Vahey, who served for several years. Sandra Began and Dan Landry were elected Treasurer and Secretary, respectively.

The Coalition also announced new committees, by-laws, website and logo, which are all designed to strengthen its ability to serve the Fairfield community.

The coalition also established three new operating committees – the Youth Committee, chaired by Alida Ward; the Resources Committee (covering data, membership, funds, and sustainability), chaired by Phil Dwyer; and the Program Committee, chaired by Reini Knorr.

“With a new team and new energy, Fairfield Cares is stepping up to help our community grapple with the difficult challenge of substance abuse in all forms, and, as co-chair, I look forward to playing a bigger role,” Chief MacNamara said. “The focus is and should be on prevention and treatment, especially when abuse of alcohol and drugs, including prescription drugs, is increasing here and around the country.”

“We are establishing new programs – in addition to our existing school-based initiatives – not only to help prevent substance abuse but also to promote healthy choices and behaviors to increase personal wellness and strengthen community resilience,” Romaniello added.

To improve communications, the coalition has updated its Facebook page, launched a new website,, and announced a new program called “Five for Five,” a five-part series of five-minute videos in which experts in prevention and health will be interviewed.

The first video will be shot on Jan. 30, featuring Detective Beth Irizarry of the Fairfield Police Department Youth Bureau. The videos will be made available to Fairfield middle and high schools and posted on the Fairfield Cares website. The remaining four videos will be announced as plans are finalized.

Fairfield Cares Coalition, established in 2009, is a town-wide organization including parents, school representatives, local business leaders, law enforcement personnel, clergy, counseling professionals and youth services organizations. Fairfield Cares is dedicated to preventing underage drinking and substance abuse in Fairfield, increasing awareness of the risks of various forms of addiction, promoting healthy choices and behaviors to increase personal wellness, and strengthening community well-being and resilience.

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