Locals are named Prevention Champs

MONTPELIER — Two former Addison County Student Assistance Professionals, Tom Fontana and Sharon Koller, were recognized at a recent Prevention Works!VT celebration for their dedication to promoting health and wellness. Fontana was honored as a Prevention Champion Prevention Colleague Award for his involvement in and promotion of substance misuse prevention, and Sharon Koller was honored with a Prevention Champion Lifetime Achievement Award for recognition of long term of service to the prevention field.

A licensed mental health/alcohol and drug counselor and author, Fontana has worked to advance the conversation at both the youth and collegiate level and introduced programs that have made an immense difference with students of all ages. From his years as the Student Assistance Professional at Vergennes Union Middle and High School to his current work with students at University of Vermont, Fontana has been able to make lifelong connections that guide people throughout their work in the prevention field. His friendly, nonjudgmental, fun, knowledgeable and supportive approach has allowed him to coordinate education, prevention, and intervention programs in a shame-free manner by engaging students in conversation and keeping the floor open to questions. An incredible mentor, he continues to have an impact on the community and the youth he works with.

Koller has worked with young people in many capacities for over 30 years. Starting her career as a licensed therapist, she also served on governance boards, volunteers in classrooms, and worked as the Student Assistance Professional at Mount Abraham Union Middle and High School providing mental health and substance misuse prevention screening and early intervention, and providing students with meaningful ways to make a difference in their school and community. Koller currently serves as the Coordinator for UP for Leaning’s Getting to “Y” program, where students promote youth health and wellbeing by bringing meaning to their own Youth Risk Behavior Survey data, engaging with their community, and taking action. Putting the importance of empowering youth and school communities at the forefront of everything she has done, Koller has dedicated her life to youth wellness, prevention, and education. Koller is a kind, thoughtful, and dedicated woman who gives her all to help others and leaves a lasting impact behind wherever she goes.

Prevention Works!VT is a network of community coalition leaders, prevention consultants, service providers and individuals with an interest in and a commitment to substance misuse prevention across the state of Vermont.

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