Wake-UP (Wakefield Unified Prevention Coalition) is a group of concerned community members, providers, public officials, youth, and parents. The group uses proven strategies to address and reduce the unique community factors that contribute to high risk behavior in youth and promotes the development of healthy Wakefield youth and families. We are led by a full time project director and part time youth coordinator, who help lead the coalition to implement several strategies including: increased community education, building skills in youth, parents, educators, and community members, addressing the physical environment, and changing policies.
Wake-Up was formed in 2011 by the Wakefield Health Department, Wakefield Police Department, Wakefield Public Schools and concerned residents. In September 2013, Wake-Up was awarded the competitive Drug-Free Communities grant, a five-year contract totaling $625,000. This grant allowed the coalition to hire a project director and youth coordinator, as well as use funding to implement evidence-based strategies. We have grown substantially over the past two years and have recently convened a Youth Action Team with fifteen members. Wakefield Unified Prevention Coalition has over fifty members with a regular meeting attendance of at least 15-20 people.
Meet the Staff
Catherine Dhingra: Assistant Director of Health & Human Services; Director, Wakefield Unified Prevention Coalition; Advisor, Wakefield Youth Council
Catherine has a BA from Denison University and an MS in Human Service Management from UMASS Boston. Catherine has over 20 years of experience in public health, community-based prevention, and youth development. Before starting her position in Wakefield in 2013, Catherine was the Program Director at Girls Incorporated of Lynn, overseeing the City of Lynn’s Drug-Free Communities Funding and several other prevention initiatives. Catherine has also worked as a freelance consultant providing local and national trainings and presentations on Coalition Development, Experiential Learning, and Youth Leadership. Catherine lives in Wakefield, is the mother of two boys currently attending the Wakefield Public Schools, and is active in several community groups.
"For years I have been hearing about the silent epidemic of substance use and mental health challenges to our youth. Our grassroots efforts to gather and share our mutual observations on a local level has finally given a voice to this issue in a way that invites proactive problem solving and some hope of a healthier generation."
-Testimonial from Laurel Skinder Gourville, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, parent, BOH
Our new Prevention and Wellness Coordinator Amy Chiaravalloti, MEd came to Wakefield with 15 years of experience as a secondary health and English educator. Amy quickly adapted to her new role, managing the Youth Action Tea and coordinating prevention programs related to substance use, mental health, violence prevention, social media use, active living, and more.
Amy works with the Wakefield Public Schools Health and Wellness team to support training for educators, curriculum development, and supplementary materials. She has also joined Wakefield Memorial High School athletics staff to provide information to parents of student-athletes on how to keep their teens healthy and safe.