Here is an account from the Times Herald-Record:
Project about heroin use wins top award
By Andrew Beam
Posted Mar. 4, 2015 at 9:55 PM
BETHEL – Julie Pisall stood and hugged the folks from WJFF-FM radio when its project about the heroin epidemic in Sullivan County won top prize at the Non-Profit Leadership Summit on Wednesday.
For Pisall, the Kingfisher Project – which puts a microphone in the hands of Sullivan residents whose lives are affected by drugs – is personal. It was created in memory of Pisall’s daughter, Rebecca, whose death was connected to heroin.
The public radio station in Jeffersonville won the $5,000 Innovation Award for a project that exemplified the theme of the day at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts – improving the quality of life in Sullivan County.
The Kingfisher Project was one of three finalists for the award. The others were the Eat Healthy Sullivan County Farmers’ Market and the Sullivan County Breastfeeding Coalition. Each received $500.
The Eat Healthy Market – started by the county Maternity Infant Services-Network (MISN) – is meant to help those receiving Woman Infants and Children (WIC) benefits have access to better nutrition through local farmers’ markets. It also looks to get more of the vendors at the markets to accept WIC vouchers. The Sullivan County Breastfeeding Coalition – in partnership with Sullivan County Public Health Services and MISN – is pushing for more education on breastfeeding. It also helps new mothers learn how to breastfeed.
But it was the Kingfisher Project that won a standing ovation. With the prize money, the radio station hopes to purchase more portable recording equipment so it can continue to record and broadcast public forums dealing with the drug crisis in Sullivan County, where 44 of every 10,000 deaths are drug-related – the third-highest rate of all New York counties.
“We’re getting people to tell their own stories,” said WJFF program director Jason Dole.
Linda Hartley, co-chair of the summit’s steering committee and head of Hartley Consulting, says the Innovation Award was created to honor organizations creating new ideas through strategic thinking and collaboration. The Kingfisher Project was an example of that goal.
Pisall says she’s pleased to see people responding to the project and her daughter’s story. She hopes it can make a difference.
“It makes families know they’re not alone when dealing with a family member or a loved one (who’s) an addict,” she said.