The first staff members, totaling five, were hired in the summer of 1987. In September, 1987, MCCASA opened its doors to the public on Rt. 13, just north of Canastota. The first edition of the newsletter, MCCASA Reports, published in the fall of 1987, described the mission of the new organization.
"MCCASA's primary mission is to provide community education and information on alcoholism and substance abuse, to refer those in need of services to the appropriate treatment providers, and to advocate for services where there is a need."
In 1991, MCCASA moved to its current location in the Birchwood Office Building on Rt. 5 just west of Canastota. With the expansion of staff, satellite offices were opened in Rome, NY and Cazenovia, NY.
In the spring of 1998, MCCASA began doing business under the name BRiDGES . The new name was chosen to better express the comprehensive nature of the organization's mission and the broad range of programs and services it provides to help individuals, families and communities improve the quality of their lives.
Since 1987, the organization has significantly expanded its focus and service area. In 1989 MCCASA established a comprehensive Employee Assistance Program that currently serves employees and their family members in businesses throughout the Central New York region.
For more than ten years, the organization has been a leader in tobacco control operating Reality Check and BRiDGES to Prevent Tobacco, a community partnership. Although originally focused strictly on Madison county, both programs now serve Madison, Oneida and Herkimer counties.
BRiDGES is the lead agency for two community coalitions, Madison County’s Promise, and CazACTION. Both coalitions are focused on reducing underage drinking through engaging all sectors of the community, youth and adults.
In recent years, the organization has expanded its problem gambling prevention and education program. Outreach has been done to all populations affected by problem gambling including adolescents, college students and older adults.
Click to view BRiDGES Time Line
Click to view All Board Members since Incorporation in 1987