Mission Statement

Offering hope and changing lives by fostering healthy lifestyles.

Preventing Addiction • Sharing Resources • Supporting Recovery

What We Do

Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism is a small nonprofit organization serving central Nebraska with alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention education, information, referral, intervention and recovery services since 1967. The overall goal is to provide resources that will empower youth and adults in an effort to increase the number of youth and adults making healthy lifestyle choices.  We offer the following services:

Youth Prevention Programs

  • Kids Power!
  • Discovery Kids
  • Kids Power2
  • CATCH Kids Club
  • All Stars

We also facilitate youth leadership activities with middle and high school youth.

Lending Library

We house more than 1200 books, videos, and DVD’s and CD’s for free loan, offering help and hope for the many challenges of life, including substance abuse and addiction issues. Some Spanish materials are available. 

The BIG BOOK Store

We offer a large selection (over 400 titles) of books, pamphlets, greeting cards, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs and other gift items. New items are added regularly. We can special order if needed. Some Spanish materials are available. 

Informational Resources

Available free or at a low cost; up-to-date print materials regarding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs (articles, pamphlets, meeting lists, posters, etc). Some materials are available in Spanish.

Referral Services

CNCAA helps individuals and families needing treatment services, self-help groups, or other human service agencies find help, in and out of Nebraska. We are a listening and compassionate ear in times of crisis.

Intervention Services

It is sometimes very difficult to recognize an addiction problem in a spouse, parent, child or other loved one. You may need the help of a knowledgeable professional and the support of others with the same experience. At CNCAA’s Family Education Program you’ll gather the information and resources you need to help your family deal with addiction. You will receive tools to get you started on the road to recovery.

Our History

One man’s vision

About Our Founder

Don Marquard was a recovering alcoholic. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. In other words, an alcoholic can never take one drink without the possibility of trouble. Don came to know this through Alcoholic Anonymous. For twenty-seven years, he had known complete and continuous sobriety. He was able to do this because he followed the Twelve Steps of A.A.

Don became an advocate to help others who were suffering from alcoholism. He did it in person to person contact with alcoholics and their families. He was a warm spirited person, honest with himself and others and willing to help others who wanted help.

He became certified in the field of alcoholism at Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Nebraska and Kearney State College. He became a well-known and loyal member of A.A., attending regional and national meetings and sometimes called to speak on this theme. For twenty-two years or longer, he continued as a counselor to alcoholics and families. He and Mrs. Marquard started the first Alateen in Grand Island.

1966, a dream began to take shape. In that summer about fifty businessmen in Grand Island began to meet to think about what could be done to help scores of persons, hundreds of persons in need because of alcoholism. They thought of the formation of an information and referral center, they dreamed of more facilities for A.A. meetings reaching out to so many affected by alcoholism. From this group came the board of directors of the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism (CNCA). Progress was slow and money did not come easily, but on April 17, 1967, offices were secured in downtown Grand Island and a program of service and information and counseling began. It continues to this day, touching the lives of thousands of persons in Grand Island and surrounding territory.

The movement of information, education, and counseling has grown in many ways. From one A.A. meeting held down in the basement of the Yancy Hotel, there are now many meetings held each week, held in churches and other institutions. There are Alanon meetings for spouses of alcoholics. There are meetings of Alateen for teenage children of alcoholics. Other improvements have been made to help persons and the community face up to the reality of alcoholism and the help so many persons and families need. Of course, scores of men and women in this community have pitched in to help this program of service and education become a reality (Thank God for them). But most would agree that Don Marquard has been in the forefront all the way. Not only had he continued to be a good neighbor in face to face relationships, he had been a good neighbor in helping to expand the program so that increasing numbers of persons may be helped.”

Our Staff

Connie Holmes has spent the last thirty-four years employed with the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions in Grand Island serving in all capacities throughout those years, is currently serving as the Director (since September 2006).  Her passion is prevention (focusing on youth) and helping individuals and families whose lives are affected by addiction.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I love the mission and the work of this organization!  Having grown up in a family where alcoholism and other addictions were present, I had then and still have a strong desire to help others who are affected by addiction, especially the children who sometimes are overlooked or neglected.  We want to do all we can to break the cycle of addiction and help children grow up strong and healthy.”

Janie Mick has served as a program facilitator for the past two years teaching youth prevention classes in the after school programs, Kids Power, Teen Power, and Kids Power 2. Janie also instructs the substance use education classes.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I love kids and have a passion for those struggling in families of alcoholism and addictions as being from the family of alcoholism I understand those struggles.  My life lessons have given me an understanding of what those kids and families live with yet more importantly to love and teach them how to overcome those obstacles.  Teaching prevention of using alcohol, drugs and tobacco help kids understand why they should say no and how to say no while protecting their body and brains. I also have come to understand the disease of alcoholism and addition and have a passion for teaching our Prime for Life classes and showing how we can change our outcome by making low risk choices.”

Kylie is the Prevention Specialist here at CNCAA, added to the team in January of 2023. She has received her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State College, majoring in Human Service Counseling with a minor in Psychology. She is currently attaining her master’s degree from Wayne State College for PK-12 School Counseling. When Kylie is not working or doing schoolwork she loves being with her dog, getting coffee and going shopping, or being with her friends and family. Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me: “I’ve grown up in a family that has been affected by alcoholism and other additions, I have learned and grown to be where I am today because of the love and support of my family. I have a great passion to help make this world a better place and CNCAA is the perfect place for that! Through compassion, empathy, and warmth we can create a healthy community and educate others. This is a great place to network, get help, and receive support for all.

Cristina Terrazas is the bilingual program facilitator and bilingual substance use education instructor. She began her career at CNCAA the spring of 2019 and loves working in the after school programs.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

“My brother died from alcoholism and working at The Council has help understand that alcoholism and addiction are diseases. The Council has given me the chance to meet new faces that I can share this information and provide hope to them and their families.”

Michaela Perry became the coordinator for the Prevention Project in July of 2022. She graduated in May 2018 with a Master of Science in Criminal Justice and Criminology from the University of Nebraska Omaha. Michaela started with the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions as a Program Assistant in February of 2017. Outside of work, Michaela loves spending time with her family and pets, reading, playing and coaching volleyball and riding horses.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“Substance abuse has impacted my family and because of that I am passionate about helping individuals that have been struggling with substance abuse. I am also passionate about being healthy and helping our community to be healthy as well.”

Native of Omaha, NE and resident of Palmer,
NE. Michelle started her position with Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholisms and Addictions October
2022, her knowledge and passion in prevention work makes her a good fit for her role in advocating
tobacco prevention and cessation.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

People, especially youth who grow up in a household where alcohol and other addictions are prominent, (a lot of times) do not know any better, until they know better. CNCAA’s mission statement and the work they do help people to know better by cultivating safe spaces for people, of all shapes and sizes, to learn, grow, and know that they are not alone! As a person who grew up in a household with high functioning alcoholics, I did not know any better until I knew better, and it is my passion to help others who may be struggling in this area of their lives.

The Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions is excited to announce the hiring of Lorinda Brown as the Prevention Specialist leading the Strengthening Families Program. The position is a grant funded program initiative provided through the Miller Family Foundation 2 that actively demonstrates a committed effort to educate and empower families through The Strengthening Families Program.  Brown is a Grand Island native since 1989.  She began her community activism through membership in the Stolley Park PTA where her three children attended.  Her inspiration to be a change agent within the community was strongly motivated by her role as a mother.  Her personal mantra is, “If nothing changes; nothing changes”.  Her active experience serving includes volunteerism with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Friends of the Zoo, YWCA Helpline, YMCA youth sports, and den leader for her son’s boy scout troop.  She served on the board for the Center for Independent Living as vice and chair leadership.  In 2008, Lorinda was selected as Ms. Wheelchair Nebraska and traveled throughout the state advocating and increasing awareness about independent living philosophy and changing the attitudinal barriers that challenge individuals in diverse experiences.  In 2009 Ms. Brown was nominated and appointed by Governor Heinemann to serve on the Governor’s Commission on volunteerism now titled Serve Nebraska.  She represented disability inclusion in National Service.  In 2013, Lorinda enrolled as a full-time student at Central Community College on the Grand Island campus receiving her Associates Degree in Business Administration.  Her continuing studies with Bellevue University advanced her business intelligence receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Non-profit Management/Health and Human Service Administration in 2015.  She partnered with the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism and Addictions for her internship implementing skills from her studies including grant development and fundraising initiatives.  In 2017, Brown achieved the publishing of her first book, “Building Your Dream Muscle” with Christian Faith Publishers. 

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me: 

“Offering hope and changing lives by fostering healthy lifestyles” is synonymous with my personal mantra and the values I live by.  As an advocate, motivational presenter, and author it is my passion to inspire others to become the best version of themselves.  Living with an eating disorder since the age of 13 has provided me with a parallel understanding facing challenges each day making choices that align with one’s wellbeing and avoid self-destructive patterns of the past.  One day a time, one choice at a time, changing lives through prevention – support – recovery is making a difference for a lifetime. 

Celeste L. Heaivilin-Penner is the coalition coordinator for Hamilton, Howard, and Merrick counties. Celeste also co-facilities the Intervention and Family Intervention programs as well as the 40 Developmental Assets parenting classes. Celeste is a Licensed Mental Health Practitioner and has a private practice. She has lived in the Grand Island/Lincoln area for the past 36 years. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and the family in 1988 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She worked at the Bridge, Inc. in Chemical Dependency and at Health and Human Services in the Foster Care and Adoption Program. She received her Master’s Degree in Community Counseling and Education in 2000 from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Other work experience includes the Camelot Care Center serving children/teens with severe behavioral disorders, the University of Nebraska Extension in the Building Nebraska Families life skills education program, and in private counseling practice.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I want to help those suffering from addiction and their families.”

Our Board of Directors

Aaron is a Program Manager at Goodwill Industries of Greater Nebraska, Inc. within the Behavioral Health Services Division in Grand Island. Aaron is currently serving as our board Vice President. He is a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor who has worked in the Human Services field for 19 years.  Aaron is also a past Executive Director at both Hope Harbor and the Friendship House.  Aaron and his wife Marcie have been married for 15 years and are proud parents of a son and twin girls.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

“CNCAA has been important to me for many reasons.  CNCAA’s lending library and bookstore are/were helpful places to find materials for both my personal recovery journey, as well as my college experience and professional life.  Serving on CNCAA’s Board in the past was an excellent opportunity for me to grow as an individual, as well as build networking relationships with other agencies.  The staff at The Council are committed, talented, and very well respected individuals who are full of compassion.  Above all else in my mind, The Council has served thousands of at risk children who due to circumstances outside of their control, have been dealt some very challenging circumstances in their young lives.  One of the most important factors for developing resiliency in youth, is that they have a trusted and supportive adult in their lives.  Through the Council’s youth programs, children are able to find that trusted person to have in their lives.”

Suzanne Riley serves as a CNCAA Board Member and President and is a Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner and Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor with Grand Island Mental Health and Medical Clinic. She is a Registered Service Provider for the State of Nebraska accepting voucher payments for qualified services. She enjoys completing alcohol and drug evaluations/counseling as well as mental health services. Suzanne has an Associate of Applied Science Degree from Central Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Family Studies and Women’s Studies as well as her Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in Community Counseling from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Suzanne has over 10 years of experience working in the helping profession with experience at an inpatient mental health facility, volunteering as a domestic violence advocate, assisting those experiencing physical and developmental disabilities, and counseling in a correctional facility.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I enjoy being a part of CNCAA as I get to assist families impacted by addiction in another way and see the positive outcome that happens when people come together in this fight.”

Jeff Engberg is a firefighter/paramedic with the Grand Island Fire Department.  He has been with the GIFD since October 2000.  He is also a hazardous materials specialist with Nebraska Task Force 1, a FEMA US&R team with the Lincoln Fire and Rescue Department.  Jeff and his wife, Barb, co-owner of Live Well Physical Therapy, reside just outside Grand Island.  They have 3 children:  Jessica, Grace, and Trey.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:
“I became a member of the CNCAA Board of Directors because through my personal and professional experiences, I have seen the harmful toll that alcoholism and drug addiction takes on individuals and families.  The mission of the CNCAA is a most worthy one.  The CNCAA provides the Grand Island community with invaluable resources which are used to assist our citizens in coping with and defeating the harmful effects of alcoholism and drug addiction.  The CNCAA has helped a countless number of individuals, and their families, achieve sobriety and live a life of recovery.”

Brandon Kirkley has been a police officer with the Grand Island Police Department since 2007. He is currently an Investigator in the Criminal Investigation Division’s ‘Drug Enforcement Unit’. In that capacity, he has been assigned to the Central Nebraska Drug and Safe Streets Task Force since 2014. Originally from Texas and having lived in Chicago and Iowa, Brandon is happy to call Grand Island home. He and his wife, Sara, are proud Iowa Hawkeyes fans, and enjoy camping and hiking, being with family and friends, and spending time with their Jack Russell Terrier, “Jack”.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

“Throughout my career in law enforcement, I have seen first-hand on a daily basis how destructive drug and alcohol addictions can be. In addition to family trauma, a large part of the crime in our community is a consequence of these addictions. Drug and alcohol addictions are not issues that can be “fixed” by law enforcement – they are diseases and mental health issues that involve a multifaceted approach to treatment. CNCAA is important to me because they are able to offer the incredible resources and vital support programs that I am unable to as a police officer. They provide educational and support programs that are invaluable for both persons seeking treatment and their families. Treatment for these addictions can seem overwhelming, but the CNCAA provides the resources to make the road to recovery less difficult to navigate.”

Rick Conrad has been in law enforcement for 28 years all of which has been with the Hall County Sheriff’s Department. He was elected to the office of Hall County Sheriff in 2018 which is the position he currently serves today. He serves on the boards of the Central Nebraska Drug Courts as well as the recently developed Central Nebraska Veterans Treatment Court.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

I see chemical dependency as a huge issue in dealing with subjects from law enforcement side. I have also seen that this is a problem that is passed down from generation to generation. Having programs that help the family unit definitely is the best means to reach both the parents and their children. This gives the best opportunities to “break the cycle” within the family units.

Tyler Noel began his role on the CNCAA’s Board of Directors in February of 2021. Tyler is a Patrol Officer with the Grand Island Police Department. Tyler has been a Police Officer in Grand Island since 2011.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

CNCAA is important to me in many ways. It provides fellow officers, other professionals, and I with quality trainings to better serve the community that we work in. CNCAA also provides education and resources to those who I encounter on a daily basis whether it be juveniles or adults.

Barrett Stinson began his role on the CNCAA’s Board of Directors in January of 2023.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

I am interested in supporting the continuation of CNCAA’s contributions to recovery and the awareness of recovery options along with ongoing community outreach and educational opportunities that help improve the quality of life in our community.  I wholeheartedly support CNCAA’s mission of educating the community, with an emphasis on children, about the dangers of various substances, consequences of becoming addicted, and possible recovery options and outcomes.

Lori is a Licensed Alcohol Drug Counselor at CHI St. Francis Alcohol Drug Treatment Center.  She has been working in treatment for over 31 years.  Prior experience includes working at a domestic violence shelter and as a 911 dispatcher at Norfolk PD.  Lori and her husband met at Kearney State College and have been married for 35 years.  They have 2 amazing kids that both graduated from UNK with bachelor’s degrees in social work.  Lori and her husband now have a 4 legged “toddler” aka golden retriever at home who has distracted them from the empty nest!

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:  

“CNCAA is so important to me, my clients and this community.  My entire life has been affected by alcoholism and addiction.  I wish there had been a KidsPower program when I was growing up.  Both my daughter and niece participated in that much needed program facilitated by amazing staff.  I encourage all my clients to take advantage of the many programs and services offered.  The bookstore and lending library provide so many resources.  The workshops provide national presenters right here in Grand Island NE!  It is such a wonderful opportunity for both professionals in the field and the recovery community.  It is my honor to serve on the board of directors for CNCAA.”

Dr. Stephens began her role on the CNCAA’s Board of Directors in August of 2023.

Summer engages staff, students, and the community in collaborative conversations and
activities designed to promote excellence and innovation.  With a passion for personalized
learning through a competency-based land social, emotional, and academic lens, Summer has
successfully implemented systems of blended and online learning, voice and choice, self-paced
learning, project-based learning, and design thinking. A specific focus of her work has included
bridging the gap between courses traditionally identified as core and CTE, working to ensure
that systems have opportunities and pathways for all students to engage in future-ready work.
She is a strong advocate for schools at the state and national level, working with legislators to
ensure equitable funding and opportunities for learners.  Her involvement at the city and county
level creates a great connection between school, home, and community.  Dr. Stephens is the
2023 Nevada Superintendent of the Year, the 2023 Nevada Society of Innovators and Digital
Education Administrator of the Year and the 2023 Nevada State Award Winner for the National
Association of Federal Educational Programs Administrators.  Dr. Stephens currently serves as
the Associate Superintendent for Grand Island Public Schools in Nebraska and most recently
served as the Superintendent for Churchill County School District in Fallon, NV.

Summer has been thoroughly involved in all levels of education, serving on the board of a two-
county early childhood center to serving on the Complete College Wyoming Advisory group and
participating in the national level of Future Ready Schools. She has experience with a K-20
Learning management system adoption team, developing a statewide open education resource
library, and other components of a strong competency-based learning approach.  She is a
graduate of the AASA National Superintendent Certification program and AASA’s Personalized
Learning Cohort.   She has served as a member of the NV Military Interstate Children’s
Compact Commission, the Nevada Department of Education’s Blue Ribbon Task Force,
President of the Nevada Association of School Superintendents, and has served on the Nevada
HOSA board, Churchill Economic Development Business Council, the NevadaTEACH Advisory
panel and the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra Board of Directors.

Why CNCAA’s mission is important to me:

I want to fully represent Grand Island Public School’s needs and interests to support our students and families and with CNCAA’s work, we are able to partner to prevent and solve substance abuse in our children and access programs that strengthen families.

Amy began her service to the CNCAA Board of Directors in October 2023. She currently
works for Heartland CASA as the Community Outreach Coordinator. Prior to this role,
Amy spent many years as a “jack of all trades,” working for various local businesses in
accounting, social media, administrative and secretarial capacities. She also has
experience in the criminal justice field, having worked for the Grand Island Police
Department as an Evidence Technician. Being married to a police officer, Amy has a
strong passion for supporting Law Enforcement and the work they do. She also serves
as Secretary on the Board of Directors for Hall County Crime Stoppers.
Amy and her husband, David, have been married for 5 years and have 2 children, 2
dogs and 2 horses. As a family, they enjoy playing cards and board games, spending
summers at the lake, cheering on the Chicago Cubs baseball team and taking vacations
to Colorado as often as time allows.
Amy is very passionate about serving her community and promoting easy access to life-
changing programs for all Grand Island residents. Her passion for CNCAA and their
mission comes from having lived experience with the effects alcoholism can have on a

“I never really thought about the true effects addiction and alcoholism can
have on someone other than the substance user. I experienced a life altering trauma
when I lost my father in January of 2018. He had struggled with alcohol abuse since I
was a child, and ultimately succumbed to the disease by taking his own life. When he
died, I spent a lot of time confused, upset, hurt and angry. It took a couple years to fully
process the loss and a couple more to finally move forward in life. About 4.5 years after
his passing, I heard about CNCAA at a community H.E.L.P. meeting I attended. I met
Connie, the Executive Director, and immediately recognized her passion for serving a
community that is so widely affected by addiction. I started to research the organization
and learn about the programs they offered. After everything I’d been through, I knew
how important it is that these programs continue to be offered in our community. I felt a
serious pull to get involved and turn my own heartbreaking experience into something
good. My only regret is that I didn’t hear about CNCAA sooner – and that’s exactly why I
joined the Board of Directors. My goal for being on the board is to help push the CNCAA
name into our community and educate everyone about the amazing work they do, in
hopes that their services might positively affect someone’s life and save them from
enduring an experience like my own.”

Communty Collaboration

CNCAA brings individuals and members of communities, agencies and organizations together in an atmosphere of support to systematically solve existing and emerging problems that could not be solved by one group alone.

CNCAA partners with many community coaltions addressing substance use and abuse issues, and offers technical assistance to other who want to organize and evelop new coaltions.  We collaborate with:

Mission Moments

The program is a different approach to teach a child about important issues. These issues can be really hard to talk about.

Parent of a Discovery Kids participant

Thank you! Kids Power gave us HOPE!

Crystal C., Parent of a Kids Power participant

CNCAA helped me in the very beginning of my recovery process with their wonderful lending library.

Jolene S., Past CNCAA Board Member

He’s more focused, well mannered, and he has better self-esteem.

Parent of a Discovery Kids participant

I think the program is wonderful and my child loves to go to CATCH Kids Club!

Parent of a CATCH Kids Club participant

This organization has a staff of people genuinely committed to helping their community! Every time I’ve called or visited, the people there have been kind, knowledgeable, and had a sincere desire to help in any way they could. In my experience here I learned more than I ever expected, and left feeling much better than I did when I came.

Sam M., Drug education class participant

Kids Power 2 helps me to be drug free and helps me with my mom’s problem.

Addison, Kids Power 2 participant

My child now has an increased knowledge and awareness, especially after reading and going over the homework and other paper brought home from the program.

Parent of a Discovery Kids participant

I like getting together to see friends at Kids Power 2 that I don’t usually get to see. I am concerned for my friends. Kids Power 2 is fun and so is getting to go to Timberlake.

Autumn, Kids Power 2 participant

I always visited to get medallions, cards, or books. Staff was always friendly and helpful. The Council was very important to my daughter and that is what made me want to get involved. I had not realized all the kids programs offered, but that is the main reason I want to stay involved. Prevention is key. Thank you Connie and staff for all you do!

Jo G., Past CNCAA Board Member

The first time I attended Tree of Hope, I was living at Hope Harbor two years ago. Representatives of CNCAA had visited while I was in treatment at St. Francis ADTC. What wonderful gifts and literature I have purchased from the store. I plan to utilize the tobacco free program in the future. Thank you for supporting my recovery!

Michelle B., (9/20/14 - present)

Being a part of an organization that cares so much about the community is a place I want to be. Until we, as community members, come together as a force to educate those needing assistance, we struggle. CNCAA has mission to be that force.

Melissa A., Past CNCAA Board Member

I liked the program. You shared an important message to our kids, such as how to prevent problems with alcohol and drugs. Thank you!

Parent of a Discovery Kids participant

Kids Power really helped my children cope with a life changing effect of alcoholism. It gave them the tools and confidence to get through.

Dan D., CNCAA Board Member

My son has a better judgement when selecting foods and choosing foods lower in fat. The whole family has learned a lot too!

Parent of a CATCH Kids Club participant
I feel passionate about spreading any type of help for families going through the devastation of addiction. More importantly, showing families that there is hope and solutions to live a beautiful, fun, and peace-filled life.
Mia W., Past CNCAA Board Member

Since Discovery Kids, she has shown a lot more responsibility and is trying to be more of a leader.

Parent of a Discovery Kids participant

My son runs, walks, and jumps on the trampoline more often. We also go for walks to the park more often as a family.

Parent of a CATCH Kids Club participant

Photos in testimonials are random and do not necessarily portray the author of the statement.

Reach Out Today

Hope and help are just a moment away. Contact us today.