Pubdate: Sun, 23 Oct 2005
Source: Bucks County Courier Times (PA)
Copyright: 2005 Calkins Newspapers. Inc.
Author: Matt Coughlin


Mary Lou Kufta's words are having an impact beyond Bucks County.

For three years, she and several other mothers have gone to Lower 
Bucks schools to tell students their stories - stories of how they 
lost their own children to drug overdoses or drug related murders - 
as part of Middletown Police Department's NAIVE program.

But now the NAIVE program, which stands for Narcotics, Alcohol, 
Inhalants and Violence Education, is headed to Cinnaminson, N.J., and 

"It's a 'punch me in the face' program," Cinnaminson Officer Denny 
Chesney said. "A lot of programs sweet talk   but this doesn't."

A year ago, Chesney was one of 21 police officers from 12 different 
agencies who attended a NAIVE training program by founder Middletown 
Detective Daniel Baranoski and Kufta at the Middle Atlantic Great 
Lakes Organized Crime Law Enforcement Network in Newtown Township. He 
said he read about the program last year as the Cinnaminson police 
were planning to re-open their community policing department.

"It was a heart-wrenching program because I heard some of the mothers 
speak at the end of the program," said Chesney, who stepped out of 
his detective role to become a community relations officer. "You get 
to see it from the other side, you get to see the mom and dads."

Chesney said so far he's reached one father who lost his child to 
drugs and he plans to show that man and two other potential speakers 
a tape of Baranoski's program so they know what they are getting into 
before they sign on. He also said he has a list of volunteers from 
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Chesney said he hopes 
to have the program up and running at some point next year.

Baranoski said he's also been speaking with Allentown about how to 
get its program up and running, but it's unclear how soon they'll be 
able to do so.

Kufta and Vicki Faunce of Bensalem, another NAIVE mother, were happy 
to hear that the program is spreading. Both women were honored at a 
"mocktail" Thursday night along with volunteer of the year Dori Bower 
and the other mothers who share their tragic tales.

"It's our children who are being honored," Kufta said. "I also really 
like that we've honored the representative and the people who are 
fighting for rehab programs and drug courts."

Attorney General Thomas Corbett, state Sen. Robert Tomlinson and 
state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo were also honored for their efforts in 
promoting drug rehabilitation and the establishment of drug courts in 

But the mothers are proud to know that their loss could save someone 
else's child.

"With the tragedy that I had to deal with, I want to make something 
positive out of it for someone else," Faunce said. "That way my son 
didn't die in vain."
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