“We develop customized training and services for coalitions, so, we have the fun job of offering different modalities of training depending on the needs of the communities. This gives us the opportunity to be responsive and innovative in supporting our prevention efforts.”
Gonzalo comes from a background that allows him to especially connect with and understand the importance of community coalition work. Prior to this position, he worked with substance use and misuse prevention programs at various levels and managed the youth programs of several organizations. “I started to work in coalitions around nine years ago and really liked it. I believe it is a good approach to resolving issues and because I started to work there, I became connected with CADCA. Within my coalition, there was interaction, communication, and admiration for CADCA. That was how I started to know the quality of products inclusive of training that CADCA delivers.”
“Since I was the director of one of the longest standing coalitions in the country, Broward Commission on Behavioral Health and Drug Prevention, leading that coalition for a long time gave me a unique perspective. I learned that you must be patient. There are so many things that are going on and I think being exposed to and leading a coalition or being a member of a coalition, really brings a more realistic view of the day-to-day challenges and the day-to-day victories too.”
Gonzalo also remarked on the broader challenges he believes coalitions are facing today, “Much of the efforts target the consequences, not really valuing the social and financial sense that prevention has. It is always a challenge to get in front of stakeholders in the community, who are more driven to attend to consequences. Sometimes they are not looking at what the root cause is, so we need to be in the conversation with the many other viewpoints and interests.”
Gonzalo is also passionate about including youth in prevention efforts. “They are our present and our future. We must include them because we cannot do anything without them. Meaning, they must be part of everything we do, because we are trying to respond with them to their needs; not get them to respond to what we see or what we think. This is a collaborative process. It is youth-driven, but adult-guided. It has direction while we try to home in on all of those positive aspects that youth bring about, which are positivity, resilience, adaptability, fun - all of these assets are just so natural to them.”
In his new role, Gonzalo will work on providing the youth with the skills, opportunities and support to make a difference in their community.
“I think having a positive view of youth also allows them to explore their potential. Sometimes all they want and all they need is just for somebody to support their efforts. If we do not do that, we will not be effective.”
Looking forward, Gonzalo is optimistic about the impact that CADCA’s work will continue to have on communities, both nationally and internationally. “My hope is that we continue to be progressive, continue to look at the future, lead the movement of prevention and everything that it entails. That means bringing together the science, the awareness, and most of all, the importance that it should have at all levels. Bringing that together with such a changing context and world, we have to be very much in touch and adapt to what we’re living right now and what is to come.”
Contact Gonzalo Cadima by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on Customized Trainings and Services and the Youth Leadership Initiative.