About us


AWARENESS  started as a Mentoring Program that was created in 2006 as a result of an underage drinking party. After a lack of empathy from parents teens started the program to change the culture for future generations.
It was defined as  teen initiated prevention program in Ulster County with adult guidance. It is aimed at giving middle school youth alternative activities provided by High School students who complete a training created by Ulster County Mental Health Association to promote pro-social skills during recreational activities that constitute healthy alternatives to drug and alcohol use.
After the youth pictured below graduated high school the Mentoring program ended. 

Mentors Car Wash Hurley Ridge Market


The Awareness Alcohol Program was formed in 2007 when teen Mentors reached out to their peers that were involved in a fatal drunk driving car crash on prom night that took the life of their friend. In 2009 we expanded to cover substance use. 

In 2011 SUNY New Paltz Students, Dr. Ken Winters and Founder Marie Shultis we created the first edition of our 8 week program.

In 2015 we expanded and changed our mission to :

AWARENESS is a non-judgmental peer-to – peer education program addressing behavioral health for youth ages 16 – 25 to help them identify if behavior modification is needed.

Covering Anger, Communication, Coping, Gambling, Job Training Skills, Life Skills, Resume Building/Creating, Self Esteem,  Substance Use etc. and behavioral health program.

In 2015 in our 10th edition of our 8 week program we added a gambling section and became an approved NYS OASAS Alcohol Awareness Program.

In 2016 youth in solid recovery, found us and started to help in light of the heroin epidemic, this allows us to help higher risk youth and older adolescents. We have a life coach support program where we connect those struggling with addiction with a peer life coach who helps them get the level of care needed. We are also an after care program where youth can have continued support and give back.
We are now offering Life Coaching for Parents and/or their children. Please call for a confidential consultation 845-417-1484

Please see the PROGRAMS Link to see what we currently offer. 

Peer to Peer Meeting in New Paltz

The AWARENESS  Program provides a program in relationship with the legal system that insures accountability on many levels for underage drinking offenders, marijuana, prescription drugs, and any other violations or low level criminal charges in Ulster County. This program has adolescents speaking to and educating offenders between the ages of 16 and 21 years old. The youth who have participated identify that the use of peers their own age to deliver the program as one of the most effective tools of the program.

We feel it is important that parents be involved in all aspects of the educational activities listed below. This offers both parent & teen life changing information and an opportunity for open discussion about the seriousness of the issue with their child. We also have parent and parent and teen interviews available to teach strategies for bettter communication with each other.

Strategies: ·

  • Substance Self Assessment ~ Based on a tool developed by Helene White, Ph.D. the RAPI (Rutger’s Alcohol Problem Index) is an element of the BASICS program. The RAPI inventories consequences associated with drinking. It simply allows the person to see that their alcohol use is negatively impacting them more than they may realize.
  • Awareness DVD ~ The teens acted in and produced a two part educational DVD using situational role plays to show how to reduce the risks of negative consequences and the stagering statistics related to drinking and drug use in the first part. The second part of the DVD consists of the teens telling their experience from their prom night that resulted in the DWI death of one of their friends and the incarceration for vehicular manslaughter of their other friend.
  • Live Speakers ~ Young adults who have lived through tragic events share their experiences.
  • Prison Visit ~ The offender will sit in a model jail cell for 10 minutes allowing the offender to observe the environment they could end up in if his/her behavior results in more serious criminality.
  • Community Service ~ Offenders that are required to participate in community service will be invited to attend weekly meetings held at the New Paltz youth center. The Coordinator will follow up and make sure the offender is participating and note their progress to report to the court.

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